Noise-induced hearing loss is extremely common. Your hearing can be irreversibly damaged if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that exceeds 85 dB.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
There are tiny hair cells in your inner ear which can be permanently damaged by loud noise. This is called sensorineural hearing loss.
Noise-related hearing loss can be caused by long-term subjection to very high levels of noise, which leads to a gradual decline of your hearing. Instant damage can also happen if you are subjected to a burst of exceptionally damaging noise all at once.
Work and recreational activities account for 17% of hearing loss in people between the ages of 20 and 69. Here are some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss:
- Busy Traffic
- Loud volume on earphones
- Construction equipment
- Nearby fireworks
- Jet engines
Can it be Reversed?
Although scientists are making progress, presently, there is no cure for noise induced hearing loss. If you have been subjected to a loud noise, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the prolonged damage is caused by swelling in the ear. You might be capable of limiting the damage that occurs by reducing swelling. Waves of sound are transmitted to the brain by the little hair cells in the ear. They never regenerate once they are ruined. Meaning that your hearing ability will be permanently impacted. This is why it is critical that you take the appropriate steps to safeguard your hearing, and if you are exposed to a loud noise, that you consult a specialist right away.
Research to Tackle The Issue
There is currently no solution for this condition. But restoring noise-related hearing loss is top priority for scientists. For example, some studies are in clinical trials right now that are evaluating whether a drug can repair the growth of the little hairs in the ear. If scientists were capable of getting this drug to work, these hairs would be able to restore and we might be able to address noise and age related hearing loss.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected
While hearing loss that is a result of noise can’t be restored (yet), you are capable of taking specific steps to reduce hearing loss or save the remaining hearing that you have. Some steps you can take include:
- If there are places that always have loud noise – avoid them
- If you work in an industry that has persistently loud noise, use the correct hearing protection
- Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the answer
- Limit your exposure to exceedingly noisy activities at home
- Get tested regularly
Lowering the volume on your devices, using ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to safeguard your hearing. But if you are exposed, schedule a hearing test.