Listen up, it’s time to talk about Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)! Did you know that 48 million people in the United States have trouble hearing in one (or both) of their ears? That’s a lot of people who cannot reverse the damage done to their hearing. Since people cannot regrow the hair cells to replace damaged ones, hearing loss is permanent. In light of these important facts, Center for Hearing is breaking down how hearing loss occurs and practical ways to protect your hearing starting today!
What causes NIHL?
NIHL happens when, “tiny hair cells within the cochlea—the small, snail-shaped organ for hearing in the inner ear—are damaged or destroyed by repeated noise or a one-time exposure to very loud noise,” (thehearingreview.com). Ears do not “become used to” loud noises. Meaning, if loud sounds that once bothered you no longer do, odds are you’ve already lost some of your hearing! Since cell regrowth cannot occur, people will lose their hearing loss over an extended period when exposed to high decibels (dBA) of noise and often do not realize the loss until it’s too late.
How do I protect myself from hearing loss?
One of the best rules-of-thumb when it comes to determining if an environment is too loud for your hearing is recognizing how loudly you have to speak for someone next to you to understand you. If you have to talk extra loud to someone who is only a foot away from you, or talk loudly, directly into their ear, the noise is probably harming your hearing. Removing yourself from extra loud areas or bringing earplugs are great ways to proactively fight against hearing loss.
What if I think I might have hearing loss?
Know that it’s not too late! You can still protect your hearing by lowering the volume, moving away from the noise, and wearing hearing protection. By practicing these three actions while in a loud-noise environment, you can help protect your hearing.
If you think you might have hearing loss, contact Center for Hearing today! Our audiologists are here to help you achieve your best hearing health.
4300 Rogers Ave. Suite #15
Fort Smith, AR 72903