Trivia – Noise Can Damage Hearing
- Hearing loss can result from damage to structures and/or nerve fibers in the inner ear that respond to sound. This type of hearing loss, termed “noise-induced hearing loss,” is usually caused by exposure to excessively loud sounds and cannot be medically or surgically corrected. Noise-induced hearing loss can result from a one-time exposure to a very loud sound, blast, or impulse, or from listening to loud sounds over an extended period.
- 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise
- 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.
Be alert to some of these warning signs, which could suggest that you’ve been exposed to hazardous noise:
- You hear ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears after exposure to noise.
- You notice that you can hear people talking, but you have difficulty understanding them, after exposure to noise.
- You experience “fullness” in your ears after leaving a noisy area.
Remember, even though you might have experienced these symptoms temporarily in the past, your hearing might not always “recover,” leaving you with a permanent and regrettable hearing problem.
Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sound is preventable. To reduce their risk of noise-induced hearing loss, adults and children can do the following:
- Understand that noise-induced hearing loss can lead to communication difficulties, learning difficulties, pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus), distorted or muffled hearing, and an inability to hear some environmental sounds and warning signals
- Identify sources of loud sounds (such as gas-powered lawnmowers, snowmobiles, power tools, gunfire, or music) that can contribute to hearing loss and try to reduce exposure
- Adopt behaviors to protect their hearing:
- Avoid or limit exposure to excessively loud sounds
- Turn down the volume of music systems
- Move away from the source of loud sounds when possible
- Use hearing protection devices when it is not feasible to avoid exposure to loud sounds or reduce them to a safe level