Everyone experiences some sort of sound on a daily basis, whether it be from the TV, radio, cell phone, or talking with other people. Normally, we hear these sounds at safe levels that do not affect our hearing ability. However, when we are exposed to sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time, the tiny hair cells in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss a.k.a. NIHL. The hair cells are small sensory cells that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. In is fact that our hair cells cannot grow back once they are damaged.
Facts about Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
- Noise-induced hearing loss is often gradual, and therefore hard to detect
- Noise-induced hearing loss is related both to the decibel level of a sound and to the amount of time you are exposed to it. Your distance from the sound also matters.
- Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss is often permanent
- Everyday noises can contribute greatly to hearing loss
- Because of noise in our society, hearing loss is affecting people at earlier ages
- Ears cannot adjust to extremely loud or painful noises. So, if you feel that you’ve adjusted to a loud noise, you are probably experiencing hearing loss
- In addition to damaging hearing, researchers know that noise can cause stress related health problems such as elevated blood pressure, fatigue, reduced sleep, increased frustration and even difficulty in concentrating
- Of the roughly 30 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, 10 million can attribute their hearing loss to noise
- People of all ages, including children, adolescents, and young adults, can develop noise-induced hearing loss
- Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by a one-time exposure to loud sound as well as by repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels (dB) over an extended period of time.
- Noise exposure occurs in the workplace, at school, in recreational settings, and at home.
- Listening to headphones with your stereo or MP3 player too loud or too long can hurt your ears.
- Other noisy recreational activities that might hurt your ears include target shooting and hunting, snowmobiling, riding go-carts, woodworking and other noisy hobbies, horns, vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, shop tools and stereos or music players set at high volume levels
- Many devices that children use today have noise levels much higher than 85 decibels. For example, an MP3 player at maximum level is roughly 105 decibels
- Noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable.
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Get your hearing checked regularly, and more importantly, protect your hearing. For help with hearing loss in San Diego, contact North County Audiology.