Have you ever tried to turn up the volume of your music to 100 and enjoy the song while dancing and singing along with it? It’s enjoyable, but regular listening to loud music can cause hearing loss. You need to avoid being next to loud sounds for long periods of time as it’s extremely dangerous. Two common reasons behind hearing loss are noise and age. Today, we will speak about noise-induced hearing loss to understand its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
How Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) Occurs?
Every day, we are exposed to sound in our surroundings: as we watch TV, listen to music, hear traffic noise or household appliances, etc. Generally, when these sounds are coming at safe and proper levels, they don’t harm our hearing. However, when we decide that we want to hear our favorite song or watch TV with the volume high up, even if it’s a short time, we put our hearing at risk. Hearing loss occurs when the nerve fibers and sensitive structures in the inner ear (which assists you in hearing and maintaining your balance) are damaged. You can understand that you have a hearing loss immediately or after some time which can be permanent or temporary affecting one or both ears.
Whatever way it affects you, one thing is clear: noise-induced hearing loss is something that can be avoided.
Causes Of NIHL
As you can guess from the term itself, NIHL is caused by extreme sounds or persistent exposure to loud noises. Causes that can put your hearing at risk include:
- Listening to loud music through headphones
- Target shooting
- Going to loud concerts
- Being a member of a band
- Snowmobile riding
- Working at nightclubs where there is loud music
- Being around lawnmowers
- Riding motorcycles
- Using fireworks, etc.
Decibels are a unit of measurement for sound. A normal conversation is about 60 decibels and a motorcycle engine running is around 95 decibels for perspective. Your hearing may be affected if noise levels reach 70 decibels for a sustained period of time. Loud noises over 120 decibels may result in immediate hearing loss.
The duration of time you are exposed to the sound and your distance from the source of the sound are crucial considerations in safeguarding your hearing. Noises that are excessively loud, last long, or are too close should be avoided.
Symptoms of NIHL
Now you understand that loud noises and sounds are the main cause of noise-induced hearing loss. It’s time to understand the symptoms that display that you’re developing it to visit a doctor as soon as possible:
- Not being able to hear birds singing and other high-pitched sounds.
- Not hearing phone calls, ringing, etc.
- Asking family members or friends to repeat their words to hear better.
- Asking others to speak louder and slower.
- Turning the volume of music, TV, or radio up to hear better.
- Hearing buzzing, whistling, ringing, humming in the ears (which show that you’re developing tinnitus).
- Getting tired, overwhelmed, full, and stressed after listening.
- Hearing muffled or distorted sounds and speech.
- Asking your family member to help you understand the conversation.
- Not being able to understand the source of the noise or sound.
- Not interpreting what others say, especially when there is background noise.
- Feeling pressure in ears.
- Hearing frequently that people say you are shouting or speaking too loudly.
How can you understand that sounds or noises are loud and dangerous for your ears?
- When you shout to speak to your friends or family members as the noise is loud.
- When you don’t hear or understand a speaker who is merely 3 feet away from you.
- After you leave the noisy place, your hearing is muffled.
- You feel pain or hear ringing.
Not only does noise cause hearing loss, but NIHL can also bring anxiety, stress, social isolation, insomnia, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, depression, etc.
Ways to Prevent NIHL
Before speaking about treatment, let’s understand how you can prevent noise-induced hearing loss. We’ve compiled a handful of tips for you to follow:
- Turn down the volume of your music, TV, movie, or radio. Always follow the warning that your devices provide to inform you that the decibels are high and may harm your hearing.
- Whenever you are exposed to loud music for a long time, take 15 minutes listening break to give your ears some rest.
- If it’s possible, use quiet tools, including power tools, etc.
- Replace old, damaged, or imbalanced machine parts to reduce equipment noise. Keep your equipment lubricated and in good working order.
- When you can’t get away from loud noises because of being a construction worker or a nightclub worker, use hearing protection (such as earmuffs or earplugs). Keep them in your workspace, pockets, car, or any other easily accessible location.
- Limit the amount of time you are exposed to loud noises.
- Test your hearing frequently if you work in noisy places, as early detection can help you prevent the problem from deteriorating.
- Move away from the loud sound-producing sources, including cannons, speakers, etc.
- When going to concerts, take a seat that is far from speakers.
- When going to restaurants or cafes, choose quieter seats.
- Wear noise-canceling earbuds when listening to music.
- Put a barrier between you and the source of the noise by enclosing it.
Generally speaking, hearing aids are the most common and popular hearing loss treatments. Hearing aids, despite their wide range of types, technical features, and designs, are all small, wearable electronic devices that help people hear better and interpret speech more clearly, resulting in an overall improvement in communication. You can improve your quality of life, and emotional well-being, prevent social isolation, anxiety, and stress, and boost your overall health by wearing hearing aids. Other tools include cochlear implants, sound amplifiers, etc. Always go to a doctor to get hearing help and care whenever you feel that you have hearing issues.
When you have health problems, life loses its colors and beauty since you are unable to completely appreciate each day. Your senses help you feel, touch, smell, hear, see, and taste every second of life. You should take steps to avoid hearing problems before they arise, and once they do, you need to take immediate actions to prevent their development. Refer to our blog as a checklist whenever you need a guideline for noise-induced hearing loss or for some good reviews as a result of a good customer experience. Don’t let your hearing get worse — stay away from loud noises and sounds, and stay healthy!