Pay Attention to Hearing Loss
In some cases, hearing loss is immediately noticeable. In other instances hearing loss can start to occur before you realize that you can no longer to hear certain sounds or comprehend speech. Loss of hearing can happen due to nerve damage in the ear, which results in your brain not being able to interpret speech the same way that healthy ears can. Hearing loss can be temporary or become permanent. Either way, seek help as soon as you notice there’s something wrong with how well you can hear. Temporary hearing loss can become permanent when essential parts of the ear are damaged and cannot be restored.
Hearing Loss caused by Loud Noise
Loud noise is incredibly detrimental to the inner ear (cochlea). It only takes one very loud exposure to noise or listening to loud sounds for a lengthy amount of time, to induce hearing loss. Cells and membranes found in the cochlea can become damaged from loud noise. Over-stimulation from listening to loud noises for an extensive amount of time can exhaust hair cells, which can cause them to die off. They cannot regrow. This is what causes permanent hearing loss.
Hearing loss can become progressive if the exposure to loud noise continues. Additional harm can affect hearing health after the noise exposure ends. Any damage to the inner ear or auditory neural system is usually permanent.
The Harm that is done to Hair Cells can Accelerate Hearing Loss
On average, each person is born with approximately 16,000 hair cells which are located in their cochlea. These cells let your brain identify sounds. Nearly 30% to 50% of hair cells can be harmed or destroyed before shifts in your hearing become measurable through a hearing test. When you start to notice hearing loss, numerous hair cells are already destroyed and beyond repair.
After attending a loud event like a concert, you may have a hard time hearing. Quiet voices may sound muffled or you might experience tinnitus. If no damage was done, your hearing will usually return within a couple of hours or a few days. Like blades of grass, hair cells will curve a little more if the sound is louder. They will straighten out after it recovers from being in contact with the sounds.
In other instances, if loud noise destroys too many hair cells, some will die. Recurring exposure to loud noise can eventually damage a lot of hair cells. You may slowly have a harder time understanding others when they speak, especially if there’s background noise. If hearing loss progresses, it could become more challenging to comprehend speech in quiet environments.
Noise Exposure can Harm Nerves in the Ears
Noise can also harm the auditory nerve that transfers information about sounds to the brain. Early damage may not appear on your hearing test, but it can cause ‘hidden hearing loss’. This can make it challenging to understand speech in noisy settings. Loud noise exposure can impact your ability to hear as you age. It also impacts how quickly you might develop hearing loss, even when you are not exposed to noises.
If you or a loved one are noticing any changes in the ability to hear, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.