Defining Hearing Loss
Hearing loss, or a hearing impairment, makes it difficult to hear or interpret sounds. It occurs as a result of a complication with one or multiple components of the ear, the nerves in the ears, or the part of the brain that interprets sounds.
Some people with hearing loss are born with it. Hearing loss can happen suddenly, or gradually over time. Hearing loss can be hereditary, caused by birth defects, infections, or medications. If you know ahead of time that the medication that you need to take can induce hearing loss, try to look for an alternative before taking it.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the only preventable form of hearing loss. Exposure to a sudden noise - like a loud explosion or frequently being around loud sounds over time can cause damage to the tiny hair cells found in the inner ear, making it challenging to hear clearly. You can tell whether your environment is too loud if you need to shout for someone close by to hear you. If you find yourself in a crowded area and have trouble hearing the person/people you are speaking to, you may have some hearing loss.
If you’ve ever noticed a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears after being at a loud concert, a sports stadium, or any other loud event, you’ve had tinnitus. It normally quiets down after a day or two. Continuous tinnitus or hearing muffled noises indicates that there is some damage to the hair cells in your ear. Hair cells harness sound waves and translate them into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain. When hair cells become damaged, they can no longer transmit sound signals as clearly as they normally did. Tinnitus and hearing loss often, but not always, go hand in hand.
Repeated exposure to loud noise or music can worsen symptoms of tinnitus and hearing loss. This is why musicians, construction workers, airport runway employees, and people who work in other noisy settings wear ear protection. Common tools and appliances like lawnmowers, power tools, or blenders are also loud enough to induce hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
Here are some of the best ways to prevent NIHL:
If you are noticing hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.