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Your Healthy Family: How do loud noises lead to hearing loss?

Posted at 10:49 AM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 10:45:52-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — How exactly does hearing loss happen after a person is exposed to loud noises?

Katie Williams, a doctor of audiology with Hearing Consultants in Colorado Springs explains, “Noise exposure can affect the health of the inner ear, by damaging the hair cells that line our cochlea, which is our main organ of hearing. There's a rule of thumb that the louder the noise, the shorter length of time it takes to cause damage to your hearing.”

Katie says one of the common signs of hearing loss is when we start to lose the ability to hear certain letters. “Noise-induced hearing-loss typically affects high-frequency hearing. How that translates to our day-to-day life is, it affects how clearly we hear soft high-frequency speech sounds, such as T, F, and S. Often times people feel like they can hear, but they can't really understand.”

When should you seek professional help for your hearing loss? Katie says, “Signs that you've may have damaged your hearing are that you could have a temporary threshold shift, which means temporary hearing loss. You can have a temporary decrease in hearing after a loud event, but within twenty-four to thirty-six hours your hearing can bounce back. That happens a lot in our younger years when you leave a concert and think, ‘My ears are ringing a little bit and things seem really muffled.’ That's a sign that things were too loud. Our bodies do have a way to recover, but if the hearing doesn't recover, or the ringing doesn't go away with-in that twenty-four to thirty-six hours that could be a sign that there's been permanent damage.”

In our next story, Katie will talk about how to prevent hearing loss when loud noises are hard to avoid - like if you’re a hunter or musician.

Hearing Consultants of Southern Colorado is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family