In day to day life we experience lot of sounds in environment, such as sounds from TV, Music system, Household appliances and Traffic. Normally these sounds are bearable and they do not cause any harm to our ears. But sounds which are too loud even for a brief time period might cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and that kind of loss is called Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Causes of NIHL
Noise Induced Hearing Loss is caused by either one time exposure like bomb blast or an intense impulse sound or continuous exposure to loud noises like noise generated in wood working shop or sounds generated by heavy machinery for over an extended period of time.
Recreational activities like DJ’s, listening to MP3 players at high volume through ear phones or headphones, shooting and hunting games also can cause damage.
The sounds which are less than 75 dB if exposed to long hours might not cause hearing loss but when people are exposed to sounds louder than 85dB can get hearing loss which might be temporary depending upon the time of exposure.
The distance from source of sound, time of exposure and intensity of exposure matters in terms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Effects and signs of NIHL?
When an individual is exposed to loud noise for longer period they may slowly start to lose hearing. The damage from noise exposure is gradual and for some time there might be no symptoms of hearing loss. Over a period of time sounds may become muffled and they might get distorted.
Individuals might feel difficulty in understanding speech and they start to listen to TV in high volumes.When NIHL is combined with ageing, it can lead to severe hearing loss making it more difficult to understand speech.
Loud noise exposure can also cause tinnitus which can be a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound running in the ears or head. Tinnitus may go overtime, but can sometimes be continious. Hearing loss and tinnitus can occur in one or both ears.
Is NIHL be preventable?
If we know good hearing health tips NIHL is completely preventable.
You can protect your hearing, here’s how:
- Should have knowledge of which noise causes damage and which will not (Usually noises above 85 dB might causes damage)
- Whenever you are going to the areas of noise wear earplugs and other protective devices which can be purchased at hearing aid centers.
- If you can’t reduce the noise try to avoid going into those areas
- Always be alert of hazardous noise sign boards.
- If you are working with noisy equipment always have breaks in regular intervals and also see to it that your working time should not exceed the permissible limits.
Never self diagnose , Always consult an Audiologist ..