Causes of hearing loss
There are many factors that may affect your hearing and cause hearing loss, including:
- Long-term exposure to noise
- Reactions to medications
- Ear Wax
Noise-induced hearing loss
Hearing damage can already begin at a continuous stress level of 85 dB. If you listen to loud music at a concert or on your MP3-player, for example, you may feel that you cannot hear so well afterwards. This happens because the fine hair cells of your hearing organ are temporary damaged. After a period of quiet, they recover. This is called a temporary threshold shift, TTS.
However, if you repeatedly subject yourself, over longer periods of time to extreme noise stress, these fine hair cells will become severely damaged with no chance of regeneration. This is called a permanent threshold shift, PTS.
Listening to loud music at concerts, discos or through headsets can be especially dangerous. The sound intensities through headsets, for instance, can easily reach 110-120 dB. A sudden loud explosive sound like a firecracker can also cause noise induced hearing loss.
People in loud work environments are particularly at risk. Construction workers, factory workers, airport-tarmac workers, and musicians should wear hearing protection.
Another effect of noise stress can be tinnitus. This is when one or both ears perceive sound for which there is no corresponding external source. In other words, the sounds that are heard actually do not exist. It is often described as a “ringing” in the ears, but it can occur in a variety of forms and sound levels.
What can you do?
The only reasonable alternative is prevention, so wear hearing protection! There are many possibilities from commercially available earplugs and earmuffs to individually fitted ear fittings with different filter systems.