Everyday we are surrounded by an excess of noise, such as people in crowded settings, sounds from the tv or radio, traffic, and more. Most of these sounds are normal and are at safe levels for our ears. However, when sounds are too loud or you are exposed to them for a long period of time, you are at risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss.
How is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
In some instances, people do not notice they have been affected by noise and are suffering from hearing loss. This is because noise-induced hearing loss happens gradual and is painless. Some people experience a ringing or similar sound in their ears, while others simply have trouble understanding what others are saying. While these symptoms seem minor and could be the signs of an ear infection or impacted wax, you shouldn’t take any chances for the hearing loss is permanent.
Who is Affected?
People of all ages can develop noise-induced hearing loss. Studies show that at least 10 million adults (6 percent) in the U.S. under age 70, 40 million adults (24 percent) and 17 percent of teens (ages 12 to 19) show signs of hearing loss in one or both ears from exposure to loud noise.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by an intense “impulse” sound that damages the ear or continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time. A one time sound could be an explosion, whereas a continuous exposure would be noise generated from working in a workshop or listening to music too loud for extended hours. Therefore, someone’s profession can play a huge role if they are susceptible to developing hearing loss.
Some recreational and leisure activities that can cause hearing loss such as target shooting, hunting, listening to earphones at high volumes, or attending concerts. It is very important that if you protect your ears in as many situations as possible by wearing ear plugs, and trying to listen to music through earphones at low volumes.
If you have experienced ringing in your ears, struggle to make out what people are saying, or have experienced a traumatic noise or a continuous exposure to loud sounds don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Virginia Hearing Group strives to educate our community on hearing health. If you have any questions about hearing loss or to schedule your hearing test with our group, please contact us or click here.