Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is damage caused from being exposed to loud noise. This can be from regular exposure to moderate noise or a single loud event, such as an explosion. Once of the first signs of damage caused by loud noise is Tinnitus (ringing in the ear/s) and this can be frustration and irreversible if damage is profound.

NIHL affects people working in occupations such as the military, police, construction, manufacturing, mining, farming, dentistry and education. However, the potential for NIHL is also present during leisure activities.

Watching loud films, going to a concert, listening to an audio book or mowing the lawn are known tinnitus causes and can further permanent damage to the ears.

As a general rule, if you need to raise your voice over the level of noise in the room to have a conversation with someone a metre away, you may be at risk of NIHL.

How Damage Occurs

Sound and noise are measured in decibels. Once a noise reaches over 85 decibels (dB), or approximately the level of a vacuum cleaner, damage can occur. Above this level, every 3 dB increase in sound halves the length of time your ears can listen to the noise before damage occurs.

Excessive noise may damage the hair and sensors deep inside the ear, which are responsible for detecting sound and transporting signals to the brain. Once damaged, they can’t send messages to the brain which means that we cannot hear the sounds that are happening around us.

The damage cannot be repaired and hearing is permanently affected. An online hearing test may be used to determine initial loss.

Prevention is Important

NIHL is preventable. We recommend everyone learns about the hazards of noise and the best way to manage hearing health. Our online hearing test may give you a quick indication of the quality of your hearing but it is important that more accurate follow-up hearing assessment is taken with a qualified AudioClinic Clinician.

Protect your hearing health and prevent NIHL through:

  • Education – know which noises can cause damage (those above 85 dB)
  • Prevention – use earplugs and other protective ear-coverings
  • Awareness – Be alert to hazards and make family and friends aware of the issues
  • Testing – If you suspect hearing loss, take our online hearing test or visit one of our clinics to get a detailed professional assessment.

Book an appointment online

If you think you may have a hearing loss our advice would be to get your hearing checked with a no cost* hearing check-up at your local AudioClinic

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