Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL


Noise-related hearing loss is very common. If you are always exposed to noise that that is over 85 decibels, your hearing may be irreversibly impaired.

What is Noise-Related Hearing Loss?

This is a kind of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells inside of your inner ear are irreversibly destroyed by noise.

A progressive degeneration of hearing, eventually bringing about permanent hearing loss, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise over a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single instance of a loud burst of noise that can immediately result in loss of hearing.

Over 17 percent of people between 20 to 69 have hearing loss that is a result of their work or recreational activities. Here are some examples of noises that can lead to hearing loss:

  • Nearby fireworks
  • Jet engines
  • Jackhammers
  • Motorcycles
  • Sirens
  • Chainsaws
  • Loud headphoness
  • Busy Traffic

Is it Reversible?

There is currently no remedy for noise-related hearing loss (although scientists are hard at work on it). Some of the damage in your ear might be the result of swelling so you should talk to a doctor if you have been exposed to sudden loud noise. You may be capable of limiting the damage that occurs by decreasing inflammation. Sound waves are sent to the brain by the little hair cells in the ear. They never regenerate once they are destroyed. So once they are gone, permanent hearing loss is the result. This is the reason why it is important that you take the required steps to safeguard your hearing, and if you’re exposed to a loud noise, that you see a specialist as soon as possible.

Approaching The Issue With Research

This condition is currently not curable. But restoring noise-related hearing loss is top priority for researchers. For example, some studies are in clinical trials presently that are evaluating whether a drug can repair the growth of these tiny hairs in the ear. Age-related hearing loss and loud noise can harm these hairs, but regrowth would help restore hearing if scientists are capable of getting the drug to work.

What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected

While hearing loss that is caused by noise can’t be restored (yet), you are capable of taking certain measures to prevent hearing loss or protect the remaining hearing that you have. Some steps you can take include:

  • If there are areas that always have loud noise – avoid them
  • Get routine hearing exams
  • When you’re at home, limit your exposure to overly loud activities
  • Treat any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
  • Use the proper hearing protection devices, like earplugs or earmuffs if you work in locations with persistently loud noises

Actually, it’s best to eliminate exposure to loud noise by wearing hearing protection and keeping the volume down on all your devices. But if you are exposed, schedule a hearing test.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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