Noise-induced hearing loss

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Definition - What does Noise-induced hearing loss mean?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) refers to a hearing impairment where the hair cells, called stereocilia, cannot transmit sound frequencies within a range to filter out unwanted noise from a particular source. Long-term NIHL exposure to noise above the 85 decibels (dB) threshold can cause sensitivity in both ears. A doctor uses an audiogram to chart the damage over time to note changes in the extent of the damage.

SureHire explains Noise-induced hearing loss

The duration, closeness, and frequency of an NIHL source have a cumulative effect inside the ears that the sound pressure levels distort the brain's cue to excite the damaged hair cells. Also known as noise pollution, NIHL can have comorbid health effects such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress. Given the subtle gradations of hearing loss with age, follow-ups with a hearing specialist can track the curve ratio or noise-notch pattern by which high-and-low frequencies begin to fade.

Hearing aids/earbuds can help diffuse noise levels that exceed the 85-decibel threshold range to avoid permanent damage to the ears where telltale signs such as muffled speech and tinnitus (i.e., buzzing/ringing sounds) are common factors. The number of demographic cases across Canada reflects a pressing need to address NIHL in the workplace to help curb hearing loss, managed by hearing conservation programs.

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