Tinnitus hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most common forms of hearing loss in people with hearing loss. After years of hearing loss, NIHL is the most common type of hearing loss in the US, according to the American Hearing Loss Foundation.
23% of people over the age of 65 suffer from NIHL, which is a form of hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, unlike other types of hearing loss.
Specifically, we look at how noise-induced hearing loss occurs, tips for preventing hearing loss, and ways to help your hearing.
What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
Loud noise can cause damage to the inner ear noise-induced hearing loss. Most of the time, the noises we hear in our everyday environment are relatively quiet, such as the TV, cars, and normal conversations.
However, sometimes it sounds too loud or lasts too long. It can cause hearing loss due to noise. Unlike other types of hearing loss, NIHL can be prevented.
How Do Your Ears Work?
One of the most complex and fascinating functions of our body is the auditory system. Understanding how hearing works is important to understanding noise-induced hearing loss.
- The ear canal allows sound waves to enter the ear.
- The ear canal carries the sound waves to the eardrum. The middle ear is made up of three bones that move along the eardrum: the malleus, incus, and staples.
- The cochlear fluid vibrates in waves due to the vibrations of these tiny bones. The inner part of the ear is filled with fluid, the skin is shaped like a snail.
- Small, delicate hair-like cells bend and vibrate on the surface of the fluid in our inner ear as a result of fluid movement.
- Sound waves are converted into electrical signals when these hair-like cells bend.
- Ultimately, our auditory nerve sends these signals to our brain for processing.
- Sound is interpreted and understood by our brain.
How loud is it?
Sound levels below 80 dB from the listening position are considered safe. About 8 hours after receiving the treatment, permanent hearing loss begins. Hearing loss occurs half as fast as the volume increases by three dB. At 91 dB, hearing loss will occur in just 4 hours, and at 97 dB, it will only take 2 hours.
The following is a list of common sounds with equivalent dB values.
- Washing machine: 70 decibels
- Alarm clock at 80 decibels
- Subway trains at 90 decibels
- Factory setting at 100 dB
- Car horn at 110 dB
- Concert at 120 dB: Live music
What Happens When Your Ears Are Exposed to Loud Noise?
Exposure to noise, especially the cochlear hair cells, can damage the inner ear. The hair cells vibrate and bend more when the sound is louder. Too much heat can damage hair cells. Cells will lose energy and function less due to such damage.
We feel this numbness for a short time. You may feel blurred after leaving a concert or other loud event. It may be necessary for others to speak loudly to be heard. It is mainly caused by excessive noise that has damaged the hair cells of the cochlea. Because your ears are resting, your ears recover quickly.
Loud noise can seriously damage hair cells if they are not given enough time to rest. Each of our hair is born with us. It is not possible to regain hearing when it is damaged.
How Can I Know If I’m Hearing Loss Due to Loud Noise?
The following signs or symptoms may indicate noise-induced hearing loss:
- There are some words and phrases that are not clear
- Difficulty hearing loud sounds (eg birds, doorbells, telephones, alarm clocks)
- When you are in a noisy environment, such as a restaurant, you may have trouble understanding conversations
- Hearing on the phone is difficult
- Difficulty hearing and speaking consonants (for example, distinguishing between s and f, p and t, or sh and th).
- Slowing down and clarifying the speech of others
- Getting someone to speak out loud or repeat what they said
- Listening to the radio or television too much
- Ringing in the ear
- Certain noises irritate or cause pain in some people (hypersensitivity to certain substances)
Are You at Risk for Noise-Related Hearing Damage?
Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by the following factors and exposure (loud noise).
- Sensitivity to noise is genetic
- Long-term (chronic) conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension
- Ear injury
- Liquid chemicals, such as toluene
- Using certain drugs
Ototoxic drugs damage the ear. Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or restlessness can be caused by hearing loss. There are more than 200 ototoxic drugs. These include antibiotics such as gentamicin, cancer drugs such as cisplatin and carboplatin, and pain relievers such as aspirin, quinine, and loop diuretics that contain salicylate and many other drugs.
How Can You Protect Your Hearing From Loud Noise?
To reduce the amount of noise we hear, there are a few things we can do.
Try to Avoid Noise.
It is best to physically remove yourself from the source of the loud noise. Every doubling of distance from the sound source reduces your exposure by six dBA.
Make sure Exposure to Noise is Reduced
Similarly, we can reduce our exposure. Hearing protection should be worn when listening to loud noises, but many other noises are harmful only if they are exposed for long periods of time.
Be Sure to Use Hearing Protection
If we have to (or choose to) be exposed to loud noise for longer than necessary, we should wear hearing protection. You should carry earplugs everywhere you go if you want to block out any noise.
Monitor the Loudness of the Noise Around You
Now you can download apps for your phone that measure dB levels. If you are still aware of environmental noise levels, you can use the app to determine if earplugs are necessary.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is a common and preventable hearing loss that affects many people. Understanding how NIHL occurs and taking steps to protect your hearing can reduce your risk of developing it.
You can protect your hearing health by wearing earplugs or reducing your exposure to loud noises. For an accurate diagnosis and to explore possible treatments, consult a professional as soon as you notice symptoms of NIHL. Precautions and knowledge can help you preserve your hearing for many years.