Sound is an intrinsic part of our everyday lives. From mowing the lawn to watching TV at night, we are constantly being exposed to different noises and volumes in the world around us. Whilst these everyday noises are nothing out of the norm, consistent exposure to loud sounds could be doing us more harm than we think. In fact, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the second most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Unlike age-related hearing problems, people of any age are susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss, and it is partly responsible for the growing number of young people suffering from hearing problems. Follow these steps to find out how you can reduce the risk of noise-related hearing loss and what to do if you suspect you have it.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss, as the name suggests, is hearing loss that develops because of prolonged, frequent or extreme exposure to loud noises. It is a problem that often develops gradually amongst individuals who are frequently exposed to loud music or noise because of their profession. However, it can also occur because of a single exposure to extremely loud sounds such as an explosion. Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the tiny nerve hairs and structures in the cochlea (the auditory system of the inner ear), and is often irreversible. Luckily for us, this type of hearing loss is preventable, and can be avoided with the right advice and precautions.
How to prevent noise related hearing loss
Whilst damage to the cochlea is often irreparable, there are many ways in which noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented in the first place. Firstly, it’s important to be aware of the noises that could be causing damage to your hearing – this is generally any noise that exceeds 80 decibels. If you are in a profession or scenario that involves continued exposure to loud noises, one of the best things you can do to prevent noise-related hearing loss is take appropriate action to protect your hearing. This may be a case of wearing hearing protection around construction sites, or purchasing a set of earplugs for your next big concert or night out.
Whilst precautions and legislation have already been put in place by the Australian government to protect employees against work-related noise exposure, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your own risk. At The Art of Hearing Clinics, we offer custom earplugs and hearing protection for individuals and professionals looking to protect their ears from extreme noise exposure. Finally, if you are being exposed to loud noises and have no means of protection at hand, the best course of action you can take is to move away from the noise altogether or to a safer distance.
What to do if you have noise-induced hearing loss
Struggling to keep up with conversations and sounds? If you suspect you may be suffering from noise-induced hearing loss, it’s important to see a Perth hearing specialist as soon as possible. Left untreated, this type of hearing loss could lead to continued deterioration of your hearing health, reducing your ability to understand other people’s speech. At The Art of Hearing, we understand the impact hearing loss can have on you and your quality of life. Our Perth audiologists will be able to assess your hearing and any potential solutions to restore it back to normality.
Contact our Perth audiologists at one of The Art of Hearing clinics today – or call 08 9390 8811 – for an obligation-free consultation or visit our website to find out more about our hearcare services.