Noise-related hearing loss is extremely common. If you are constantly exposed to noise that that is over 85 decibels, your hearing may be irreversibly impaired.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
There are tiny hair cells in your inner ear which can be irreversibly harmed by loud noise. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
A gradual degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise for a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single event of a loud burst of sound that can immediately cause hearing loss.
More than 17 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is a result of their recreational or work activities. Some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss might include:
- Nearby fireworks
- Busy Traffic
- Emergency Vehicles
- Jet engines
- Loud volume on earphones
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no remedy for noise-induced hearing loss (though scientists are working on it). If you have been exposed to a loud noise, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the long-term damage is caused by inflammation in the ear. You may be able to limit the damage that develops by decreasing inflammation. Waves of sound are sent to the brain by the little hair cells inside of the ear. They never regenerate once they are destroyed. So once they’re gone, irreversible hearing loss is the result. Safeguarding your ears, then, should be top priority, and seeing a specialist if you’re presently having hearing problems.
Research to Tackle The Issue
There is presently no cure for this condition. However, scientists are searching for ways to restore noise-related hearing loss. For example, some studies are in clinical trials presently that are testing whether a drug can repair the growth of the tiny hairs in the ear. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can damage these hairs, but regrowth would help restore hearing if scientists are able to get the drug to work.
Safeguard Your Remaining Hearing
While hearing loss that is caused by noise can’t be repaired (yet), you are able to take certain measures to prevent hearing loss or protect the remaining hearing that you have. You can:
- Take regular hearing exams
- Use the proper hearing protection devices, like earmuffs or earplugs if you work in places with consistently loud noises
- Manage any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
- Minimize your exposure to extremely noisy activities at home
- If there are areas that always have loud noise – avoid them
Lowering the volume on your devices, wearing ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to protect your hearing. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.