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Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Friday, December 4, 2015 8:48:02 PM Australia/Melbourne

We hear sounds that we love every day. What’s yours? Is it a meaningful conversation with your family or friends? Is it Mother Nature wreaking havoc outside with a torrential downpour? Is it your favorite song, on repeat on the radio for the 100th time? Regardless, think on it for a minute. Now imagine that you’ve slowly been losing the ability to hear this noise. Forever. Pretty upsetting right? It’s a reality for a lot of people.


While there are many factors that contribute to hearing loss, noise is one of the most forefront. It’s actually one of the most common and widespread occupational illnesses in the world. To put this in perspective, one single shot, from a firearm of large caliber, when fired at close range, can actually permanently damage your hearing in a snap of the fingers. The same can be said for repeated exposure to loud machinery like that in a factory or distribution center.


Noise Induced Hearing LossNoise-induced hearing loss (henceforth known as NIHL) is a hearing disorder that is characterized by progressive loss of high-frequency hearing sensitivity, a result of being exposed to high noise levels. This is first apparent around 4000 Hz. This loss can spread to frequencies in the range of 500-3000 Hz. This is normally apparent in both ears as opposed to one or the other.


The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has come up with some pretty eye-opening statistics:

  • More than 10 million people in the United States alone have already suffered irreversible damage caused by noise. Imagine what this is, worldwide.
  • Between 30 million and 50 million more, come into exposure with dangerously loud levels of noise each and every day.


With numbers this high, you may wonder why this problem is so widespread and why it continues to grow. After all, don’t we know better? Unfortunately because the damage increases so subtly and the effects begin to take place so gradually, we really don’t know to know better. We’re not seeing the damage physically on the exterior of our ears. Loud noises have become commonplace in most cultures around the world—through music, through media, through day-to-day life.


Because of these factors, we haven’t appreciated how serious NIHL can be, until too late. So when do you notice? You notice when there are problems communicating with those around you. You notice when a ringing in your ears becomes the norm, instead of the exception. When you strive to hear the conversations around you, instead of it occurring naturally, that’s probably a telling sign to reach out to your audiology professional or one of our team members here at Hearlink.


It is however, entirely preventable when caught early. The average, healthy person with non-noise-exposed ears can hear just fine until around age 60. Research hasn’t yet shown what particular individuals are most susceptible to NIHL but the following precautions can be taken:

  • Reduce source noise. Turn down the volume of your music, don’t blast your television set each night and check on the mufflers in your car or the equipment in your home. Each of these can sneak up on you and eventually cause damage.
  • Use headphones that block out background noise so that you moderate your listening level if you’re enjoying music. It’s also recommended to give yourself listening breaks and check out from the loud noise.
  • Hearing Protection Devices, like earplugs or earmuffs can come in handy if you’re regularly involved in loud activities in your day-to-day life.


Questions? Feel free to reach out to any of our audiologists here at Hearlink.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin