As we go about our normal day-to-day lives, many of us will be subjected to loud environmental sounds, some of which can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), a loss of hearing that occurs when sensitive structures in the inner ear have become damaged.
How Does Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Occur?
NIHL affects everyone differently in that it can be either temporary or permanent and can affect one or both ears. It is also worth noting that the onset of NIHL can be either immediate or gradual. In all cases, however, the signs and symptoms of NIHL are fairly universal amongst those diagnosed with the condition. Some of the more notable signs of NIHL include an inability to hear what others are saying clearly, either on the phone or against background noise, and having to increase the volume on the television or radio as a means of compensating for the loss of hearing in one or both ears.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO BE DIAGNOSED WITH NIHL?
Because NIHL is a byproduct of prolonged exposure to loud sounds, it can impact the lives of those who are young or old alike. According to a study published by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 6 percent of seniors and 24 percent of adults in America have experienced a loss of hearing as a result of being exposed to loud sounds. The same study also found that about 17 percent of teenagers have experienced some degree of hearing loss due to loud sounds as well. In cases involving young adults or teenagers, NIHL is often linked to recreational activities like listening to loud music while wearing earbuds, attending firework festivals, and attending live concerts, for example.
HOW TO PREVENT NIHL
Unlike other hearing problems, NIHL can be prevented as it is a form of hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds. Some of the best ways to prevent NIHL include
- Wearing earplugs when operating certain machinery
- Avoiding loud environmental sounds
- Scheduling regular hearing tests
WHEN SHOULD YOU BE SEEN BY A HEARING CARE SPECIALIST?
If your ability to hear has changed significantly, it would be in your best interest to schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist as soon as possible. During your appointment, your hearing care specialist will perform a series of tests to evaluate your hearing before recommending possible treatment. For more information on NIHL or to schedule a hearing test, consider contacting Beltone Audiology, a world-class hearing aid center with highly skilled audiologists who are well-versed in NIHL and many other hearing problems. Call us today at (888) 210-5846.