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How does noise cause hearing loss? – Part 1

• Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is an extremely widespread condition that results from exposure to high-intensity audio, particularly over an extensive period of time.
• It happens to be a preventable hearing problem that influences individuals of every age group and demographics.

Mechanism of Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

• NIHL develops when an excessive amount of sound strength is transmitted into and via the auditory system.
• An acoustic signal from a power source, like a radio, penetrates into the external auditory canal, which is funneled right through to the tympanic membrane (eardrum).
• The tympanic membrane works like an elastic diaphragm and forces the ossicular chain of the middle ear system into movement.
• Then the middle ear ossicles transmit mechanical energy to the cochlea by means of the stapes footplate tapping against the oval screen of the cochlea.
• This tapping stimulates the fluid within the cochlea (perilymph and also endolymph) to force against the stereocilia of the hair cells, which subsequently transfers a signal to the core auditory system within the human brain.
• When the ear is subjected to extreme sound levels or high decibel sounds with time, the over-stimulation of the hair cells contributes to heavy generation of reactive oxygen species, resulting in oxidative cell death.
• In animal tests, anti-oxidising vitamins are actually found to minimize hearing loss even though administered the date after sound exposure.
• They were incapable to completely avoid it.
• Several of the irregularities include metabolic depletion of the hair cells, structural alterations and degeneration of layers within the hair cells, morphological alterations of the cilia, ruptures of cellular membranes, and total degeneration and loss of hair cells, neural cells and aiding cells.
• NIHL is hence the consequence of over-stimulation of the hair cells and aiding structures.
• Structural harm to hair cells (mainly the outer hair cells) can lead to hearing loss which can be characterized by an attenuation and also distortion of inbound auditory stimuli.

Kinds of Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

The ear might be subjected to short periods more than 120 dB without permanent harm — though with uneasiness and perhaps pain; however long-term exposure to audio levels over 80 dB could cause permanent hearing damage.

There are 2 basic types of NIHL:
• NIHL brought on by acoustic trauma
• Gradually/ Steadily developing NIHL

1. Acoustic Trauma
• NIHL due to acoustic trauma represents permanent cochlear damage from a one-time contact with extreme audio pressure.
• This type of NIHL generally results from exposure to high-intensity noises.
They can be like:
– Explosions
– Gunfire
– A massive drum hit loudly
– Firecrackers

2. Gradually developing NIHL
• Gradually developing NIHL represents permanent cochlear damage from recurring contact with loud sounds over a period of time.
• Unlike NIHL from acoustic trauma, this type of NIHL would not arise from just one exposure to a high-intensity audio pressure level.
• Gradually developing NIHL can be a result of several exposures to any specific source of extreme volume.
This can be like:
– home and vehicle stereos
– concerts
– nightclubs
– excessive noise in the workplace
– personal media players

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Etymotic Research ER20 ETY-Plugs Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Youth Caused by Leisure Noise

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