Noise-related hearing loss is very common. Your hearing can be permanently impaired if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that exceeds 85 dB.
Exactly How Does Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Work?
There are little hair cells in your inner ear which can be irreversibly damaged by loud noise. This is called sensorineural hearing loss.
A progressive degeneration of hearing, eventually bringing about permanent hearing loss, occurs when you are exposed to very loud noise over a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single event of a loud burst of noise that can immediately cause loss of hearing.
Work and recreational activities are responsible for 17% of hearing loss in individuals between the ages of 20 and 69. Here are some examples of noises that can lead to hearing loss:
- Loud volume on earphones
- Busy Traffic
- Jet engines
- Nearby fireworks
- Emergency Vehicles
Can it be Reversed?
There is presently no remedy for noise-related hearing loss (though scientists are working on it). Some of the damage inside your ear might be the result of swelling so you need to consult a doctor if you’ve been subjected to sudden loud noise. You may be capable of limiting the damage that develops by reducing swelling. The hair cells in your inner ear are responsible for transmitting sound waves to your brain. If noise harms or destroys them, they are unable to regenerate. So once they are gone, permanent hearing loss is the result. Protecting your ears, then, should be a priority, and consulting a specialist if you are presently having hearing problems.
Addressing The Issue With Research
This condition is currently not curable. However, scientists are searching for ways to repair noise-induced hearing loss. There are clinical trials, for instance, that are attempting to regrow these hairs with an experimental drug. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can harm these hairs, but regrowth would help restore hearing if researchers are capable of getting the drug to work.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected
While hearing loss that is a result of noise cannot be repaired (yet), you are capable of taking certain measures to prevent hearing loss or protect the remaining hearing that you have. Some steps you can take include:
- Whatever your hearing loss may be, hearing aids could be the solution
- Get regular hearing tests
- Keep away from areas that constantly have loud noises
- When you’re at home, minimize your exposure to excessively loud pursuits
- If you work in an industry that has persistently loud noise, use the correct hearing protection
Really, it’s best to avoid exposure to loud noise by using hearing protection and keeping the volume down on all your devices. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.