Is Noise-Related Hearing Loss Irreversible?


It’s very common for people to have loss of hearing brought on by continued subjection to loud noise. If you are constantly exposed to noise that exceeds 85 decibels, your hearing might be permanently impaired.

What is Noise-Related Hearing Loss?

This is a kind of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells in your inner ear are permanently destroyed by noise.

A progressive degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, occurs when you are subjected to very loud noise over a long period of time. Instant damage can also happen if you are subjected to a burst of extremely damaging noise all at once.

Recreational and work activities are responsible for 17% of hearing loss in individuals between the ages of 20 and 69. Some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss may include:

  • Busy Traffic
  • Nearby fireworks
  • Jet engines
  • Motorcycles
  • Sirens
  • Construction equipment
  • Loud headphoness
  • Chainsaws

Is it Reversible?

There is currently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (although scientists are hard at work on it). If you have been exposed to a loud noise, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the prolonged damage is caused by inflammation in the ear. If you could minimize the swelling you might be capable of reducing some long term damage. The hair cells in your inner ear are responsible for sending waves of sound to your brain. If noise damages or kills them, they won’t regenerate. Meaning that your ability to hear will be permanently affected. Safeguarding your ears, then, should be top priority, and seeing a specialist if you are presently having hearing issues.

Addressing The Issue With Research

This condition is currently incurable. But repairing noise-induced hearing loss is top priority for scientists. For example, some studies are in clinical trials right now that are testing whether a drug can restore the growth of these tiny hairs in the ear. Age-related hearing loss and loud noise can harm these hairs, but restoration would help restore hearing if researchers are able to get the drug to work.

What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected

While hearing loss that is caused by noise can’t be restored (yet), you are able to take certain measures to reduce hearing loss or save the remaining hearing that you have. You can:

  • If there are areas that always have loud noise – avoid them
  • Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the answer
  • Use the proper hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs if you work in locations with persistently loud noises
  • When you’re at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
  • Take regular hearing exams

Lowering the volume on your devices, wearing ear protection, and staying away from overly loud noise is the best way to safeguard your hearing. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.