Happy new year and “safe ear”- protect ear from noise

Noise-induced Hearing loss

  • Noise level goes up with new year celebrations, social gatherings, party, music, rock-concert and fire works, and so does people visiting E.N.T. and audiology clinics with hearing problems or ringing in the ear(tinnitus).

· Children and teens listening to loud music are also more prone to develop hearing loss later in life.

· People with occupations involving exposure to noise above 85 decibel over an 8 hour period daily are also at risk. These includes indusries like mining, construction, drilling and agriculture.

  • And now people who love to play golf using latest titanium drivers are at risk of reduced hearing because of noice generated when it strikes the ball. (ref-British medical journal)

How noise causes hearing loss?

Too loud noise damages sensitive nerve endings in inner ear (delicate cells called cillia) and cause sensorineural loss. Sensitivity to sound is different for each person.

Sudden exposure to loud noise may cause temporary sensorineural hearing loss which usually recovers over 24 to 48 hours.

But if sound is too loud, or loud sound is too close or loud sound is exposed over a long period of time(more than 85 db), permanent sensorineural hearing loss can occur.

And 85 decibels is not as loud as you will think. Sound from an ipod shuffle is usually 115 db, and with fireworks it goes at 150 db.

Tinnitus may be presenting complaint for some person.

Protection from noise

Photograph taken from www.visualdictionaryonline.com
Photograph taken from http://www.visualdictionaryonline.com
  • Person working in noise above 85 db should use noise protection devices-ear plugs and ear muffs. It is as simple a concept as using goggles to protect your eyes from UV rays of sun. It is for Musicians also.
  • · People with occupations involving noise exposure should undergo periodic hearing screening(audiometry test).

    · On earliest sign of noise trauma like irritability, buzzing sound in ear or difficulty in hearing visit your physician.

· Turn down the volume of television and MP3 players.

  • Do not stand directly near to the source of noise.

Unfortunately physician can not do much in sensorineural hearing loss except prescribing a hearing aid. So primary aim is prevention and early detection.

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