Symptoms, causes, and prevention tips for (NIHL) Noise-induced hearing loss.
There are over 10 million people in the US alone with noise-induced hearing loss. People with noise-induced hearing loss have it due to prolonged exposure to loud noise. Regretfully, a big number of NIHL cases are preventable.
We are all subjected to sound every day, everything from home appliances, traffic, radios, tv’s, and computers. Normally harmless but when sounds are loud and prolonged, it can lead to permanent hearing damage. The noise damages the sensitive structures of the inner ear.
Some people notice noise-induced hearing loss right off the bat, while others discover it over time. The hearing loss can be only temporary, but other times it can be long-term and impact both ears. Sadly, some people don’t understand that they are damaging their hearing.
The (NIDCD) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders supports research into the triggers, treatment, and prevention of hearing loss. Research has determined the genes that are crucial for hair-cell function, and details are being explored into possible new treatments.
Researchers are also looking into the protective properties of cells of the inner ear, which might be able to reduce the noise damage There is a public education campaign of increasing awareness with both parents and teens about the causes of noise-induced hearing loss called “It’s a Noisy Planet.”
Who is affected by this kind of hearing loss? It can impact anybody at any age. Direct exposure can happen at work, leisure, and even at home. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that six percent of North Americans under the age of seventy experience some form of hearing loss. Even around 20 percent of people under 20 have hearing loss present in one or both ears.
So what causes NIHL? All type of things.
Target shooting and hunting, recreational vehicles, carpentry, performing in a band, and attending concerts. There are also people who lose their hearing following a single intense sound, like an explosion. Sound is measured in decibels. A humming refrigerator, for instance, is 40 decibels. Firearms and firecrackers could be as high as 150. Even sounds less than 75 decibels are capable of causing hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss: The Symptoms and Causes
People exposed to loud noises over a prolonged period can slowly lose their hearing. And since it is gradual, it is harder to detect, and you run the risk of not noticing it and continue to subject yourself to the cause. Eventually, the hearing loss becomes obvious. It’s more than not being able to hear. Here is a list of possible symptoms:
- Buzzing, ringing, or roaring in ears or head, is a thing called Tinnitus
- A temporary hearing loss that goes away in less than two days.
- Sounds that are distorted or sound like they are smothered.
- Trouble understanding speech.
- Sudden and possibly permanent loss of hearing
The problem can get worse as a person ages. If someone has tinnitus, it might continue for the rest of their life. Noises, which are abrupt, sharp, and constant, may just cause temporary hearing loss. This short-term hearing issue is called “limit shift”.
An audiologist performs a hearing test to determine if you have hearing loss. If the test shows that you do have a problem with hearing, the audiologist can focus on ear care and figure out the degree of hearing loss. The audiologist then will identify which frequencies you have difficulty hearing.
There is no cure for irreversible hearing loss. Treatment for a partial hearing loss usually will concentrate on making sure you have proper ear protection, so your hearing doesn’t get worse.
Luckily, there are devices that can help people hear better. It will depend on the degree of your hearing loss. However, some individuals benefit from using a hearing aid. This is a device that you can use in your ear that amplifies noise.
Your hearing keeps you in touch with the world around you and is nothing to take for granted.