Noise-induced hearing loss is a hearing impairment caused by loud noise exposure. It can be caused by a one-time exposure to loud sounds (e.g. gun shot) or constant exposure over an extended period of time (e.g. loud music). It affects people of all ages, so young people can also suffer from the effects of noise-induced hearing loss.
Sound arises from vibration of particles. Such vibration carries energy. As sound travels through our ear canals into our inner ear, energy is also transmitted. The louder the sound, the more energy transmitted. The energy carried by loud sounds are sometimes great enough to destroy the sensory cells in our inner ear, which leads to noise-induced hearing loss.
It is important to know what loudness level is unhealthy for our ears. Many common sounds in our daily lives may be louder than we think. Loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB). Typical conversation loudness is approximately 65 dB. Studies have shown that listening to sounds at 85 dB for 8 hours or more can cause permanent damage to our hearing. The softer the sound, the longer we can listen to it safely.
Although noise-induced hearing loss is not reversible, hearing aids can help you to hear better. In cases of severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear implant surgery can be considered.