Loud noise is damaging our ears

Photo credit: Afta Putta Gunawan

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report from an Oklahoma television station emphasizes that excessive noise exposure that causes hearing loss and tinnitus is a serious problem in that state. But it’s actually a problem in every state, and around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1 billion young people are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss from excessive noise exposure.

Avoiding noise-induced auditory disorders is easy and inexpensive: Avoid loud noise, turn down the volume of amplified sound, leave the noisy environment or use hearing protection — especially when using power tools or noisy appliances.

Once hair cells in the cochlea, the basic sensory organ for hearing, are destroyed by noise, they don’t regrow. The only current treatment for hearing loss is amplification, like hearing aids. Cochlear implants are reserved for the congenitally deaf or those with profound hearing loss. Once someone has tinnitus or hyperacusis, those auditory disorders never go away. We don’t realize how important our ears are until we have a problem, but by then it’s too late.

Protect your ears from noise and they will last an entire lifetime.

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