Hazardous noise exposure is a common cause of hearing loss in adults. The cumulative impacts of loud settings, often known as noise pollution, take a toll on the delicate tissues of the inner ear throughout our lives. This can lead to long-term sensorineural hearing loss.
Ear protection is essential for preventing noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace.
While adults are most at danger of noise-induced hearing loss, the fast growth in headphones and earbud use among children and teenagers also puts them at risk.
Noise vs. Sound
When vibrations from the source travel through the air and reach our ears, we perceive sound. Unwanted sound is frequently characterised as noise, whether it is ear-splitting feedback from an amplifier at a live performance, the boom of fireworks show finale, the loud crack of gunshots, the roar of the lawnmower, or the piped-in music and loud clamour of voices at a fashionable new restaurant.
Indeed, our environment has become so loud that “noise pollution” is now regarded as a public health risk.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises over an extended time. It can also happen if you are exposed to many loud noises in a short period, such as a gunshot or an explosion. The more you are exposed to loud noises, the more likely you are to develop hearing loss.
The noise impact on your hearing is determined by the volume, pitch and duration of exposure. The duration of exposure and the sound volume (measured in decibels, or dB) are connected. The more frequently you are exposed to loud noises, the more at risk you are for hearing loss.
For example, 8 hours of daily exposure to 85-dB noise can begin to harm a person’s hearing over time. On the other hand, louder noises like using power tools (at about 100 dB), listening to loud stereo headsets (at approximately 110 dB), attending a rock concert (at around 120 dB), or hearing a gunshot (at approximately 140 to 170 dB) may cause hearing loss after only a few times.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Here are a few signs to look for if you have this type of hearing loss:
- You are continually shouting or talking loudly.
- When you are exposed to loud noise, you get earache.
- You have tinnitus or hear buzzing, roaring, ringing, or whooshing noises in your ears.
- You’re experiencing double hearing or diplacusis.
How is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Treated?
Unfortunately, noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible. Hearing aids that are correctly fitted are usually the best therapy for NIHL. Today’s technology outperforms hearing aids from decades ago, and options for every price and lifestyle requirement are readily accessible.
How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Understanding the dangers of excessive loudness and sound is the first step toward maintaining a good sense of hearing. Here are some further measures you may take:
- Know the potential sources of damaging noises and sounds
- Adopt habits to protect your ears
- Avoid or limit exposure to loud sounds and noises
- Turn down the volume to safe levels if possible
- Move away from loud noises as quickly as possible
- Use hearing protection devices like earplugs if the noise cannot be avoided
- Replacing or lubricating machine parts that are possibly clogged
Because the damage to your ears is permanent and NIHL is irreversible, you must protect your hearing to ensure a good sense of hearing as you age. Regular check-ups also help ensure that your ears are in good working order.
Anyone can lose their hearing, and some issues are so severe that they are permanent and incurable. Because of this likelihood, you must prioritise hearing care and make changes in your daily life to avoid loud noises.
Dealing with hearing problems—be it something as minor as ear wax removal to noise-induced hearing loss—can be a daunting experience for anyone. If you’re suffering from some form of hearing loss and need appropriate hearing aids to boost your senses, CH Care provides comprehensive hearing care solutions in Australia. Please book an appointment on our website today or call 1800 432 748 to find a clinic near you!