Is Noise Induced Hearing Loss Reversible?
Many people are shocked to learn that hearing damage caused by excessive noise is irreversible. Even with the remarkable advances in modern medicine, there is currently no recognized and validated treatment for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Therefore, the only option for someone who suffers from NIHS is to prevent further damage, either by avoiding potentially harmful noises, or by investing in hearing protection devices. Furthermore, there are certain conditions that can exacerbate hearing damage, which should be avoided.
Noise Induced Hearing Damage is Permanent
In short, excessive noise exposure provokes the formation of harmful molecules known as free radicals. These free radicals effectively kill the cells that we use for hearing, resulting in permanent hearing loss. In addition, studies have also shown that certain conditions and lifestyle habits can further aggravate hearing loss, which is outlined below:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Hyperlipidemia (high levels of lipids in the blood)
- Ototoxic drug usage (for example aspirin)
Thus, if hearing is already damaged, these conditions should be treated or avoided if possible to prevent the progression of hearing loss. The following audio clip demonstrates the continual degradation of hearing that can occur if the appropriate protection is not put in place.
Avoiding Further Noise Induced Hearing Loss
It goes without saying that to prevent further hearing loss we should avoid excessive noise. However, this is not always possible, particularly if our work environment has high levels of occupational noise. However, if avoiding noise is something we have control of, like turning down the volume on our iPod, these changes need to happen immediately. The image below is a great illustration on how to protect your hearing from excessive music.
In situations where loud noises cannot be avoided, say at a football game, watching a concert or simply mowing the lawn, appropriate hearing protection is needed. Hearing protection comes in two forms, namely earplugs and ear muffs. Ear plugs fit inside the canal and range vastly in their effectiveness. Disposable earplugs made from foam are affordable but limited in their effectiveness. Ear plugs can also be custom made – some feature advanced hearing protection technology to block out extremely high levels of noise. For those who prefer not to use in-ear hearing protection, ear muffs are an effective option. For extreme hearing protection, earplugs and ear muffs can be used simultaneously.
The saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’ cannot be emphasised more when it comes to preventing further noise induced hearing loss and everything should be done to protect the hearing that you have left. Get in touch with Perfect Fit Ears for more information about protecting your hearing.