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Noise pollution is a harmful and pervasive problem that affects people all over the world. It can cause a range of physical, cognitive, and psychological effects, many of which can have serious long-term consequences.
One of the most obvious effects of noise pollution is its impact on hearing. Exposure to loud noises over an extended period can damage hearing, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss and other related issues. Learn more about the effects of noise pollution on our hearing by reading on.
Damage to the Ear’s Nerves and Hair Cells
When a person is exposed to excessive noise levels, the sound waves can damage the delicate hair in the inner ear. This can affect how the ears function, picking up sound waves and turning them into electrical impulses that the brain can interpret.
Besides that, noise pollution can also damage the nerves in your ears that carry the sounds to your brain. This often results in sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which affects the loudness and clarity of the sound you perceive. So, although you can still hear things, it can be more difficult for you to understand speech, especially if there’s ambient noise around.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
Damage to the structures in the inner ear can also lead to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), a kind of sensorineural hearing deficit. It is a permanent hearing impairment that can develop gradually or suddenly in one or both ears. They typically affect those who work in loud environments such as construction sites, farming, manufacturing, etc.
The good news is that NIHL is highly preventable by limiting a person’s exposure to loud noises. Some helpful advice includes reducing the volume of media devices, avoiding wearing earbuds, and using protection when necessary.
Development of Tinnitus
NIHL is typically accompanied by a hearing condition called tinnitus, which is the perception of ringing, whistling, or buzzing sounds without an external source. It’s not harmful to health, but it’s definitely bothersome. It interferes with one’s sleep, concentration, and hearing acuity.
No single approach works for everyone when dealing with tinnitus, so it’s crucial that you see a professional. Reviewing your medical history and a series of tests helps determine which treatment works best for you.
If you feel like hearing loss hinders your everyday life, start your hearing evaluation today with The Hearing Doctor. Contact our clinic to schedule an appointment.