man using earphones
man using earphones

How To Tell If You Have Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss is hearing loss caused by consistent or repeated exposure to excessively loud sounds. Usually, sounds over 85 dB can cause this hearing loss after some time, and sounds over 120 dB can cause immediate damage with very little time. To put that in perspective, a normal conversation is usually 60-70 dB and concerts can get as loud as 110 dB.

NIHL, a type of sensorineural hearing loss, happens when loud sounds damage the delicate inner ear and, more specifically, the hearing nerves that live there. NIHL is irreversible and must be diagnosed by a hearing care specialist.

Do I Have Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

When you think about your daily activities, it's important to consider the sounds that surround you. For example, do you listen to the radio in your car on the way to work? Are you frequently exposed to loud machinery or construction in your job? Do you enjoy listening to music through earbuds while working out at the gym? These activities can all be done safely if the sound levels are kept at a reasonable level.

However, if you're someone who blasts music in your car every day, works in a loud environment, or cranks up the volume of your headphones at the gym, you're putting your hearing at risk.

In many cases, NIHL is unnoticeable because it doesn’t involve a sudden loss of hearing. Gradually, sounds will become distorted, and other people will become increasingly hard to understand. Symptoms of NIHL can include difficulty hearing in noisy environments, ringing in the ears, and trouble understanding speech.

Can Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Be Fixed?

Unfortunately, once the inner ear hair cells are damaged, they cannot be repaired. NIHL is usually permanent.

The good news is that NIHL is preventable. To protect your hearing, you should limit your exposure to loud sounds and use hearing protection, such as earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. It's also important to have your hearing checked regularly, especially if you work in a loud environment or enjoy listening to music at high volumes.

Don't let loud sounds put your hearing at risk. Take steps to protect your ears today and enjoy a lifetime of clear hearing.

Tips For Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

  • Be aware of noises over 85 decibels. (There are many smartphone apps that you can download to check the decibels of noises around you.)
  • Wear protective devices for your ears, such as ear plugs or earmuffs when participating in activities where loud noises will be present such as mowing the lawn, hunting, or attending loud concerts.
  • Reduce the noise you take in during your daily activities. Turn down the TV volume, use ear buds sparingly and never listen to music at an extreme volume.

What Can I Do For My Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can result in severe impairment of hearing. Hearing aids can be used to assist those with this level of hearing loss and have been proven to significantly improve the quality of life for the user. With the use of hearing aids, individuals no longer feel excluded or isolated from their friends and family due to their hearing impairment.

senior man in green sweater looking at cell phone

Online Hearing Test

Not sure if you hearing loss? Click the link below to try our free online test.
Beltone HCP handing senior man hearing aids in charging case

Book Your Free Appointment

Schedule a free hearing screening and discover the hearing aid that’s a perfect fit for you.