Is Noise-Related Hearing Loss Irreversible?

Loud speakers can cause noise-induced hearing loss that is permanent.

It’s very common for people to have hearing loss caused by continued exposure to loud noise. Your hearing can be permanently impaired if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that exceeds 85 dB.

What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

There are tiny hair cells inside your inner ear which can be irreversibly harmed by loud noise. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by long-term exposure to very high levels of noise, which causes a gradual deterioration of your hearing. It can also be caused by a single instance of a loud burst of noise that can immediately cause loss of hearing.

More than 17 percent of individuals between 20 to 69 have hearing loss that is caused by their recreational or work activities. Here are some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss:

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

Can it be Reversed?

Although scientists are making progress, currently, there is no cure for noise induced hearing loss. If you’ve been subjected to a loud noise, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the prolonged damage is due to swelling in the ear. If you could minimize the swelling you might be capable of reducing some long term damage. Sound waves are sent to the brain by the little hair cells inside of the ear. If noise harms or kills them, they are unable to regenerate. Meaning that your ability to hear will be permanently impacted. This is why it is critical that you take the required steps to protect your hearing, and if you are exposed to a loud noise, that you see a specialist as soon as possible.

Research to Manage The Issue

This condition is presently not curable. But restoring noise-related hearing loss is top priority for scientists. For example, some research is in clinical trials presently that are testing whether a drug can restore the growth of these little hairs in the ear. If scientists were capable of getting this drug to work, these hairs would be able to regenerate and we might be able to address noise and age induced hearing loss.

Protect Your Remaining Hearing

Noise induced hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take certain steps to protect your ears, the hearing you have left can be preserved into the future. You can:

  • When you’re at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
  • Get tested routinely
  • Manage any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
  • If there are places that regularly have loud noise – avoid them
  • Use the appropriate hearing protection devices, like earmuffs or earplugs if you work in locations with consistently loud noises

Keeping the volume down on your devices, wearing ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to protect your hearing. Make an appointment for a hearing exam if you have been exposed to loud noise.

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.