Have you ever experienced trouble with hearing following a loud evening of live music? Perhaps you work in a hectic work environment that is often noisy and is contributing to hearing loss. Alternatively, maybe you were exposed to a loud noise that has now caused one or both of your ears trouble with hearing? If any of these circumstances sounds like you, it is possible you have hearing loss that is noise-induced.
Hearing loss affects all ages; in fact, as stated by the National Institute on Deafness, close to 15 percent of Americans that range from age 20 – 69 currently have hearing loss that may have resulted in ongoing exposure to noisy work environments and/or participating in leisure activities.
The origin of this cause may seem easy, but there are actually several misunderstandings about noise-induced hearing loss. Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions and set them straight:
Misconception: Noise-induced hearing loss is witnessed immediately. Sure, people can experience immediate temporary hearing loss following a loud show, but an ear that has been damaged isn’t always noticeable for quite some time. In most cases, noise-induced hearing loss takes place as a result of regular, ongoing exposure to loud noise and it isn’t even typically discovered until a loved one identifies the obvious change in the hearing of their family member/spouse.
Misconception: This type of hearing loss isn’t permanent. In some circumstances, noise-induced hearing loss can dissipate with time, but a lot of cases result in permanent hearing loss.
It’s a good idea to first rest your ears for at least 16 hours to determine whether they have recovered. If you are still experiencing symptoms following this time, we highly encourage you to visit an audiologist for a thorough hearing test.
Misconception: Noise-induced hearing loss only affects you if you are exposed to loud sounds regularly. Contrary to many beliefs, one single exposure to an explosion, gunshot, balloon pop, loud concert or other disruptive noises, can all lead to noise-induced hearing loss. For your safety and peace of mind, it is very critical that you have the proper protection in place if you plan to be in a situation where you’ll be exposed to loud noise, even if it is just for a short period of time.
Misconception: Loud music is the only contributing source to noise-induced hearing loss. Actually, your occupation may be just as dangerous as your interests when it comes to hearing loss. Industrial noise is a primary cause of noise-induced hearing loss. A recent study by the United States Center for Disease Control revealed that miners most commonly experience this type of hearing loss, due to acoustic distress from regular noise exposure underground.
Misconception: Noise-induced hearing loss is not avoidable. This form of hearing loss is the only type of hearing loss that is avoidable. Be sure that you wear the proper ear protection if you expect to be in a position where you’ll be exposed to loud noises, even if it is for a short time period.