Noise exposure occurs when sound is above 85 decibels. The louder the noise, the more it can damage the inner ear. Inside the inner ear there are basilar hair membranes that are in fluid in the inner ear. Inside the inner ear, the hair membranes get damaged by loud noise and eventually the damage is permanent. We have temporary threshold shifts when we are exposed to noise with an accompanying ringing in the ears. Sometimes it takes one or two days for the ringing to stop and sound to return to normal.
The longer you are exposed to noise, the more permanent the hearing loss may become.
What happens to you:
- There can be permanent ringing in the ears: tinnitus. This is the brain’s way of telling you something is wrong
- You can’t hear clearly in a noisy environment
- Women and children are difficult to understand
- People in other rooms are impossible to hear
- You can hear a door banging and a car coming from a mile away but you can’t hear what people are saying to you in a noisy room
How to cope with noise induced hearing loss:
- A hearing system will assist with hearing. The more sophisticated the technology, the better it is as this hearing loss type affects people in background noise the most
- Regularly wear noise protection when working in noise
- Tinnitus can sometimes be managed with a TV or radio going to distract the brain from focusing on the ringing
- Try to reduce stimulants in your diet. Alcohol and caffeine have been known to increase a person’s tinnitus