Noise can be damaging to the ears, causing permanent hearing loss. Inside the inner ear there are thousands of hair cells that bend in response to sound. Different sounds cause different hairs to bend, providing information about the pitch and the volume of the sound. If a sound is too loud, however, these hair cells can die, resulting in permanent hearing loss. It is important to recognize this risk of hearing loss and to protect your ears when you are around loud noises.
Knowing when a sound is too loud can be tricky; we live in a noisy world. Certainly hunters and those who shoot firearms should be using ear protection. But did you know that power tools, lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners might also cause hearing loss? Another cause of noise-induced hearing loss is listening to loud music.
Most of the time, noise-induced hearing loss occurs gradually and can be difficult to detect initially.
One early and common sign of ear damage symptom is tinnitus. Tinnitus means noises in the ear. Many people hear tinnitus immediately following a loud music concert, but the symptoms seem to resolve. With repeated exposure the tinnitus may become permanent along with the hearing loss.
How can you protect your ears? Simply by wearing earplugs around loud noises. Earplugs can be purchased very inexpensively at a drugstore. When the earplugs are fit properly they are very effective at reducing noise exposure.
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