WHAT effect can being surrounded by high levels of noise have on our ears and our general health? Not only can it be difficult to concentrate when our surroundings are loud, but the health of your ears can also be damaged.
You might not realise it, but we are all constantly surrounded by background noise. Whether it’s passing traffic, being sat on the patio, the sounds of the supermarket during the weekly shop; it’s difficult to get away from the buzz.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are approximately 1.1 billion younger people who are at risk of developing a hearing loss due to the use of personal audio devices. These are popular and can often be listened to at unsafe volumes.
Noise-induced hearing loss describes a hearing loss that is caused by either long-term exposure to noise or being subject to excessively loud sounds.
Being exposed to these noises can affect the hair cells which are inside the ear, and when they’re healthy, they help pass sounds to the brain to be processed. When they are damaged, they no longer work as they should and it becomes difficult for sound to be passed through the ear and as a result, a loss of hearing occurs.
The sound waves created as a result of the noise impacts on the hair cells, which can cause temporary or permanent damage.
There are a number of symptoms associated with a loss of hearing:
- Finding it difficult to hear the TV or feeling that you need it at a higher volume than you used to.
- Struggling to hear someone when there is additional background noise.
- Struggling to find out which direction a sound is coming from without looking around.
- Feeling more fatigued than usual when you have to listen to lots of sounds in a day.
Protecting your hearing is essential to avoiding hearing loss. If you suspect you have a hearing loss, whether due to exposure to noise or any other cause, it’s best to seek help as soon as you can.
In some instances, a solution as simple as cleaning the ear of wax could help the problem. However, in other instances, it may be that you could benefit from using a hearing device, such as hearing aids.