Most people do not notice they are experiencing hearing loss when it starts as it is typically gradual; however, there are times when sudden hearing loss occurs. When hearing loss is suspected, it may take several years for a person to notice the impact on their life, act, and seek medical help. Turning up the TV, asking for clarification, stating people mumble more, your ears feel plugged, being less engaged in difficult listening
situations are all potential signs of hearing loss. Knowing the symptoms of hearing loss is helpful to encourage you to act sooner. Treatment will be dependent on the type and degree of the hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL) is the most common type of hearing loss. SNHL occurs when there is damage to the sensory hair cells or nerve fibers in the inner ear. It is also referred to as "nerve deafness."
Causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:
Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Sounds at or below 70 dB, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss. However, long, or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dB can cause hearing loss. These situations should be avoided, or hearing protection worn. Continuous exposure to loud sounds causes permanent damage to the nerve cells in your ear.
Some activities (this is not an exhaustive list) that put a person at risk for noise-induced hearing loss include:
Protecting your ears is vital to prevent hearing loss and potential conditions like tinnitus. If you have a career that exposes you to loud noises, make sure to take the proper safety steps to protect yourself. Hearing protection- earplugs and earmuffs- is essential when working and being around loud equipment or attending loud events. Not all cases of hearing loss are preventable; however, there are several steps that you can take to protect your hearing.
Some examples of preventing hearing loss include: