Exposure to loud noise is the second biggest cause of hearing loss – could you be affected? Listen out for one particular sound.
The charity Action On Hearing Loss noted: “Long exposure to sounds over 80dB(A) can damage your ears.”
The “80dB(A)” refers to the decibel scale used to measure noise levels.
The charity explained: “It mirrors the sensitivity of human ears to different levels and pitches of sound.”
Long-term exposure to loud noises can shorten the range of frequencies you can hear.
For instance, the ability to hear high-pitched and low-pitched sounds will decrease.
At first, this reduction in hearing ability could go unnoticed, yet a particular sound could serve as a warning sign.
If you hear ringing in the ears – known as tinnitus – it’s a sign you’re hearing has been damaged.
Hearing loss: Can you hear that sound?
“Two-thirds of people with tinnitus have hearing loss,” the charity confirmed.
Some people can describe the sound as “hissing, humming, buzzing or whooshing”.
Tinnitus may be there all the time, or it can come and go – or it may only occur when you’re feeling congested.
Tinnitus and hearing loss
When we hear, sound waves travel through the ear into the cochlea – a hearing organ in the inner ear.
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The cochlea is lined with numerous sound-sensing hair cells that turn sound waves into electrical signals.
The hearing nerve sends these electrical signals to the brain, which interprets them and recognises them as sound.
When a person has hearing damage, the number of electrical signals sent to the brain decreases.
Research has shown that the brain then tries to “fill in the gaps”, which is a major cause of tinnitus.
Listening to loud music at a younger age could lead to tinnitus
A person experiencing hearing loss is more aware of tinnitus too, as other environmental sounds aren’t picked up.
There’s also a known link between stress and tinnitus, which means you’re more likely to notice the sound when you feel a bit on edge.
Age-related damage to the inner is “the single biggest cause of hearing loss” – known as presbycusis.
It can make it harder to hear “s”, “f” and “th” sounds in words – and there is no cure.
Wearing a hearing aid could make hearing the TV easier
However, many people will find wearing a hearing aid to be useful; these work by using microphones to pick up noises and adjust sounds digitally.
There are various advantages to eating a hearing aid, such as making conversations easier to follow and helping you enjoy the television.
Not sure if your hearing is deteriorating? Book a free hearing test at Boots.
The in-store hearing test takes less than 15 minutes, where a qualified audiologist will assess your hearing and deliver feedback.