Statistics show nearly 48 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss. While many of us want to prevent any deterioration, there really are no miraculous recipes to protect our hearing. However, if you ask any audiologists marion county in residents should be aware of factors that greatly contribute to any weakening of the auditory system , like exposure to intense noise.
Does Noise Really Contribute to Hearing Loss?
One of the main causes of the onset of hearing loss is noise. This loss may depend on both exposure to continuous acoustic stresses and short exposures to extreme stresses. And in most cases, those presenting a hearing problem do not immediately realize what is happening because the loss is gradual.
The world is noisy. Construction sites, industrial plants, nightclubs, busy roads, MP3 players: our life is accompanied by countless sources of noise. It can be occasional — after firing off firecrackers or prolonged in time — at work or listening to loud music. Prolonged exposure in the workplace alone accounts for almost 40 percent of cases of occupational diseases. Audiologists say a single rock concert could be enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Studies show that a single exposure to loud noises – but not necessarily deafening – can cause the death of some un-insulated nerve endings that connect the inner ear to the brain, causing irreparable damage to the auditory system.
Before these studies, it was believed that the only unwanted effect of exposure to noise such as at a football or basketball arena, was the annoying temporary feeling of having your ears plugged, and later the auditory function would return to normal. Doctors previously believed it took years for any trauma to occur. But Harvard Medical School neuroscientists who study the auditory system have discovered these inner ear hair cells can remain alive through a loud rock concert, but the connected nerve fibers tend to become permanently damaged.
Understanding the Decline of Our Auditory Signals
Nerve fibers connect the inner ear to the brain, but loud terminations breaks the connection between the nerve fiber and the hair-like ciliate cells. This disconnection of the fibers can lead to the complete death of the entire nerve. Humans have 25 nerve fibers for each of the 4000 ciliated cells that convert auditory signals. When some of them die, it impacts the hearing. The initial impact is minimal, however, repeated exposure to loud sounds cause a continuous loss of these cells.
How to Recognize Auditory Deficits
In most cases, patients don’t initially recognize any hearing problems, and out of all our regular annual examinations, scheduling a hearing test is typically ignored. There are various signs and symptoms we should be aware of. Among the first symptoms of hearing loss is the perception of a muffled or lower sound. Also, people who listen to the TV at high volumes, or no longer notice the ringing of the telephone or other daily household noises should have their hearing tested by a specialist. Visiting an audiologist can help determine any auditory deficits and possible solutions before the loss becomes extreme or interferes with your quality of life.