Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Permanent?

Loud speakers can cause noise-induced hearing loss that is permanent.

It’s very common for people to have loss of hearing brought on by repeated exposure to loud noise. Your hearing can be permanently impaired if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that is over 85 dB.

What is Noise-Related Hearing Loss?

There are tiny hair cells inside your inner ear which can be irreversibly damaged by loud noise. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be brought on by long-term subjection to very high levels of noise, which leads to a gradual degeneration of your hearing. It can also be caused by a single event of a loud burst of sound that can instantly result in hearing loss.

Over 17 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is caused by their recreational or work activities. Some illustrations of noises that can cause hearing loss might include:

  • Jackhammers
  • Chainsaws
  • Jet engines
  • Loud headphoness
  • Nearby fireworks
  • Sirens
  • Motorcycles
  • Busy Traffic

Can it be Reversed?

There is currently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (though scientists are working on it). If you have been exposed to a loud noise, you need to see a doctor right away, because some of the prolonged damage is caused by swelling in the ear. If you could reduce the swelling you may be capable of reducing some long term damage. The hair cells in your inner ear are in control of sending waves of sound to your brain. If noise damages or kills them, they won’t regenerate. This means that your hearing ability will be permanently affected. Protecting your ears, then, should be a priority, and consulting a specialist if you’re presently having hearing trouble.

Research to Address The Issue

This condition is presently incurable. But repairing noise-related hearing loss is top priority for scientists. For example, some studies are in clinical trials right now that are evaluating whether a drug can restore the growth of these tiny hairs in the ear. If scientists were capable of getting this drug to work, these hairs would be able to regenerate and we may be able to address noise and age related hearing loss.

What Hearing Remains Needs to be Safeguarded

Noise related hearing loss can’t be healed but if you take specific steps to safeguard your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. Some things you can do include:

  • If you work in an occupation that has persistently loud noise, use the recommended hearing protection
  • Get regular hearing tests
  • Stay away from areas that regularly have loud noises
  • When you’re at home, minimize your exposure to overly loud activities
  • Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the solution

Keeping the volume down on your devices, wearing ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to safeguard your hearing. Make an appointment for a hearing exam if you have been exposed to loud noise.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.