Loud noise and age are the most common contributors to both permanent and temporary loss of hearing.
Noise induced hearing loss develops due to damage to the cochlea, a part of the inner ear.
The cochlea is filled with tiny hair cells that bend when it encounters sound energy.
Extremely loud noises can damage the hair cells resulting in hearing loss.
Noise induced loss of hearing can affect people of any age.
It can develop from a sudden incident, or slowly over time.
When someone loses hearing suddenly, it is usually due to an extremely loud sound, such as an explosion, a gunshot, or a firecracker near the ear.
The loud noise damages the structures in the ear and produces instant, severe and sometimes permanent loss in hearing.
Medical attention is usually required.
Rock concerts and other loud sounds can cause a temporary ringing and hearing loss.
This causes muffled hearing that usually lasts up to a few hours, but can last weeks! Repeated exposure to loud sounds can eventually leads to hearing loss.
This type of loss of hearing is usually gradual and permanent.
It is also very preventable by avoiding loud noises or wearing ear protection when around loud areas.
The pitch of a noise and the duration of exposure determine whether and how harmful a noise is.
Occupational noise is the most harmful type of noise because of the high level of exposure.
Exposure to high volume music, using power tools and noise from everyday household appliances like blenders and vacuum cleaners can lead to gradual decrease in hearing.
Though we typically encounter contributors to noise induced hearing problems on an everyday basis, noise induced hearing loss is preventable.
Wearing earplugs and earmuffs when around loud noises protects the ear and guards against damage to the inner ear.
Age related loss of hearing, or presbycusis, is also caused by damage to the inner ear.
Age related issues with the ear are known as sensorineural hearing loss.
This occurs when the nerves in the inner ear breakdown it prevents proper hearing.
Age related loss of hearing can also be caused by age-related changes in the body that affect the eardrum and the bones of the inner ear which affects how we hear sound.
Other health conditions dealing with blood pressure and blood movement cause pressure changes in the ear that creates hearing issues.
There is no way to reverse age or noise induced hearing loss.
Devices like hearing aids, telephone amplifiers, pagers and email help those with hearing difficulties communicate.
Using sign language for communication can also be useful in cases of extreme hearing loss.
Though age related hearing problems are hard to avoid, noise induced hearing issues are preventable.
It is important to remember to always protect your ears when around loud noises.