Hearing loss? There could be possibility that it was noise induced! To sharpen your senses, read this article about hearing loss due to noise.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be prevented, if not cured! It affects people of all ages. Listening to sounds at safe levels do not affect our hearing, but increasing noise intensities like traffic and iPod earphones or other loud sounds for an extensive time can cause some severe damage to the inner ear. The sensory cells (hair follicles) in the ear convert sound energy into electrical signals which travel to the brain. Once these sensory cells get damaged, they cannot grow back or be repaired naturally and the resultant condition is called NIHL. This condition is caused when decibel levels reach 120 or 150 as against the normal and acceptable level of 60 db! NIHL is a reason for concern since it is the second highest cause of hearing loss next only to inept ear maintenance. Better safe than sorry and it's easier being cautious than trying to reverse the situation! Read this article for a better idea into the effects of noise induced hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Due To Noise
Causes Of Noises
  • Acoustic Trauma means exposure to excessive sound pressure at one time leading to permanent cochlear damage. High intensity sounds include gun shots, fireworks, explosions, large drums, sudden volume on earphones and head injuries.
  • Gradually developing NIHL is a permanent form of damage that occurs due to repeated and prolonged exposure to loud sounds over a length of time. It is usually caused by multiple exposures to any source of excessive volume such as vehicles, concerts, noise in workplace, constant headphones with music, nightclubs and personal media players. A survey conducted reveals that 85 db of noise for about 8 hours per day can result in hearing loss. Gradually developing NIHL occurs from a combination of sound intensity and duration of exposure.
Symptoms Of NIHL
  • Hearing loss observed is not very painful.
  • Vague feelings of pressure can be felt in the ears quite often.
  • Fullness and numbness in the ears.
  • Speech, even when coming from right next to you may sound muffled and seem like it’s coming from a distance.
  • Not being able to clearly hear high-pitch sounds like singing, people talking in crowds etc. In severe cases, high pitch sounds become very difficult to understand.
  • Hearing returns to normal sometimes (but cells are still getting destroyed).
  • Lasting hearing loss if exposure is repeated.
  • Symptoms last from a few minutes till the noise fades to several days at a stretch.
The sounds are too loud if:
  • You have to shout loudly.
  • You can’t hear a person standing close by.
  • People around you can hear the music as loud as your speech!
Prevention Of NIHL
  • The best way to protect your ears is allow less sound to enter them by making reduced noise! If you are working in a loud environment, check the equipment and machinery by insulating them. Ear muffs and ear plugs are good options.
  • Earphones are small inserts that need to be placed in the outer ear properly. They must be well shaped and not dirty! If repeatedly used in a bad condition, you will often find irritations in your ear. This might cause you to increase music volumes and thus NIHL.
  • This goes for most people who travel with their headphones on. Traffic sounds can increase, but the volume on your media player must remain the same. Never boost the sound level just to hear a song over the noise pollution. That might just be the last time! The same goes with watching television while vacuuming etc.
  • Lastly, get your hearing checked. This is important as the tests might tell you how your workplace is affecting your audibility.
NIHL is an irreversible condition and can be caused by any or all of the above causes appearing simultaneously. Possible treatments of this condition work till a certain extent post which the situation is pretty much out of control. Antioxidants, Glutamate Receptor Antagonist and Neurotrophins are some of the treatments employed to deal with this condition, but nothing works without proper medical supervision. Hence, consulting an ENT specialist is a must for it would give you a better idea on the causes, effects and remedies of noise induced hearing loss.

How to Cite

More from iloveindia.com