Your ears are a very sensitive part of your body, but many people seem to take them for granted. This would explain how a fourth of the 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss are in their current state because of loud noise exposure leading to noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise May Be Hard to Avoid
With the many different sound sources in our environment, we listen to different sounds every day. In the hustle and bustle of city life, many of us are exposed to car horns rumbling engines and so on. One or two of these sounds may not cause as much damage with short term exposure, but when you’re exposed to thousands of these sounds day in and day out, in our daily commute, to and from work, they are bound to take a toll on our ears.
What Causes Hearing Damage
When we’re exposed to extremely loud sounds or moderately loud sounds for an extended period of time, the delicate and sensitive parts of our inner ear may become damaged. This can lead to hearing damage.
How Does It Really Happen
What’s even more worrying is that the loud noises themselves don’t have to be painful, physically, to cause some serious hearing damage. A good way to find out if the noise is too loud is to see if you have to raise your voice for the next person to hear you properly. Think of hearing damage from loud noises as skin cancer that slowly takes hold in our skin. The higher the exposure to the sound and the louder it is, the more the damage will be.
The inner part of the ear, known as the cochlea, is particularly susceptible to hearing damage from loud noises. That is because the cells and membranes are damaged by the effect of loud noises for long periods. The most important of these cells is perhaps the hair cells; a newborn human is born with close to 16000 of these hair cells.
Through these cells, the brain is able to identify sounds. These cells bend when exposed to loud sounds. If they are exposed to sounds for extended periods, many of these small hair cells will die. This will lead you to have difficulties in understanding speech where there is too much noise.
Examples of Loud Events and What Happens When You Attend Them
If you’ve been to soccer games or attended rock music concerts, where there is a lot of screaming and shouting in addition to the blaring drums, guitars, and vocals, you would find it difficult to hear when someone talks softly to you afterward. That’s because the hair cells in the cochlea were bent and it would take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to recover.
If you listen to loud music or attend concerts or noisy soccer games often you stand to damage more of these cells. This may lead to irreversible hearing damage because the hair cells will not be able to recover.
If you feel that you have hearing damage, please reach out to us.