There are multiple different reasons that someone can lose their hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is one that is beginning to be brought to the forefront. In 2012, a study done in the US found that 40 million adults have hearing loss in one or both ears which came as a result of loud noises. With that amount covering 24% of the adult population, it’s safe to say that this is a major issue.
What Is It?
Noise-induced hearing loss is a form of hearing loss brought on by exposure to loud noises. While most of us are subject to noise every day of our life, there are certain situations where it can be damaging. These include industrial environments and sudden loud noises such as fireworks or explosions. Ongoing use of headphones for music can also contribute to this.
Hearing loss is permanent. Loud noises can damage the hair cells within the inner ear. It’s those cells that send sound to our brain. The damage could be minor, meaning only partial hearing is lost. There is also the chance, unfortunately, that the damage could mean total hearing loss.
Signs to Watch For
The beginnings of noise-induced hearing loss could almost be self-diagnosed, but it is important to seek professional help. There are, however, many warning signs of noise-induced hearing loss. The speech of others sounding muffled or slurred is generally the first thing people notice. It can also be difficult to understand consonants, or people speaking to you in a crowded area. In the early stages, those with hearing loss report that they find themselves having to ask people to repeat what they are saying or to increase the volume on the TV.
There are many signs to indicate the onset of noise-induced hearing loss and it is important that they are taken seriously. If you find yourself experiencing these things, you should consult a healthcare professional. While it may be too late to repair the damage, it is possible to stop any further damage from being done.