Most of us take hearing for granted. We don’t think about what a precious gift it is. However, our ability to hear relies on the health and proper functioning of our ears. Unfortunately, the cliché that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone is all too often true. We often do not realize how important hearing is to our well-being until we no longer have it. Fortunately, much hearing impairment can be reversed and prevented. This article will examine causes, prevention, and treatment of Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
The ear is a delicate organ which can suffer damage due to the sounds we encounter while engaged in everyday activities. Aside from ageing noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common reason that people stop hearing the world. Tests administered by The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) found that up to 24 percent of American adults below the age of 69 likely suffer from NIHL. This statistic is particularly tragic given the serious negative repercussions that NIHL can have on quality of life.
People are affected by NIHL in significant ways. Yet, because of the often extremely slow onset of NIHL, unfortunately they do not notice until it is too late. Conversations that used to be easily heard and understood, subtleties, or even audible signs of impending danger (a car’s horn blast) can all go undetected.
the symptoms remain untreated because people often do not realize the problem has gotten serious until the consequences are extreme. It is important to consult an ear doctor or other hearing professional on a regular basis. This is particularly true for those who work in loud environments. The key to prevention of severe NIHL is early detection of symptoms.
The causes of NIHL fall into two broad categories. The first is that of exposure to short but intense bursts of sound, the second from long term exposure to loud noises on a continual and consistent basis.
Noise levels are measured in sound pressure units called decibels (dBA). When people are subject to sudden noise measuring 110 to 140 dBA such as firecrackers, gunshots, explosions, or jet engines they can suffer NHIL as a result. However, everyone is different and many factors can determine exactly at what decimal range hearing loss will occur.
Noise induced hearing loss can also be the result of prolonged exposure to sounds over 85 decibels. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) specifies that the noise generated by such equipment as power mowers, snow mobiles, and jack hammers can cause ear damage if exposure is prolonged and consistent. According to federal guidelines, workers should not be exposed to such loud noises for more than 8 hours a day. For every additional 5 dBA a worker is exposed to the exposure time should be cut in half.
Luckily, once the facts are known about NIHL it can be avoided by taking a few simple steps. The most obvious step is to become aware of your environment’s decibel level, and follow guidelines concerning safe exposure times. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made hearing safety information publicly attainable online. An electronic application is also easily downloadable. The application uses a professional grade sound level meter to let people know how much noise is risky along with safe exposure times. OSHA also recommends ear and hearing protection be worn around the specific types of equipment that are particularly noisy. Most importantly loud noises should be avoided if at all possible
Of course, for those who have already spent years in the industries that are prone to sound related occupational hazards, some damage might already have occurred. The good news is that if caught early enough, NIHL can be treated and the symptoms effectively managed. Medical and hearing aid technology has made great strides in the recent decades, and prices are increasingly well within reach of many. Insurance often helps in this regard and hearing professionals use several individualized stratagems to treat hearing loss caused by aging or loud noise.
Dr Watt, a leader in hearing loss treatment and prevention, agrees with her colleges when she says that at least 90 percent of hearing loss can be greatly improved using a hearing aid. The PURE hearing Aid from Siemens. Its multi-functional platform offers excellence over a range of uses
Additionally, those who have suffered mechanical damage to the ear that lead to hearing loss can be treated in similar ways. A plethora of hearing aid hearing aid advances can lead to hearing loss patients to vastly improve their hearing.