Hearing Loss Due to Loud Noise

Today I will be talking about Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Even though I provide hearing loss treatment options to people who have hearing loss, part of my responsibilities as an Audiologist is to educate people about NIHL, in order to prevent hearing loss to begin with. So, in this blog I will be discussing NIHL, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

In our everyday lives it is normal to be exposed to certain sounds from sources such as televisions, other people speaking, kitchen appliances, telephone ringing, etc. These sounds, although sometimes irritating, are usually within safe loudness levels that will not damage our hearing.

So, what causes NIHL?

Repeated exposure to any sounds at or above 85 dB HL will cause permanent hearing loss. The louder the sound the shorter amount of time it takes to cause a hearing loss. I think it is important to emphasize that NIHL is unfortunately permanent. It damages the hair cells in our cochlea (inner ear).

Please watch the short but informative video below on noise induced hearing loss.

For more information regarding decibel exposure time guidelines as well as typical decibel ratings for familiar sounds please click here.

Ok, now we can talk about the most important part of this blog; How to prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss:

- Stay away from loud noise.

- Educate yourself about which noises can cause damage.

- Wear noise protection when exposed to loud sounds. Custom noise protection ear molds are available, or if need be your local pharmacy store should provide ear plugs that are also quite inexpensive.

- Make sure to protect the ears of children when they are too young to do it themselves.

Protect your hearing from noise everyone!

Till next time,

Kostas (Gus) Neoclis, Sc.D., CCC-A, Audiologist