Noise Induced hearing loss (NIHL) is hearing impairment, resulting from exposure to high decibel (loud) sound that may exhibit as loss of a narrow range of frequencies, impaired cognitive perception of sound or other impairment. With repeated exposure to noise like loud music, background noise or high intensity noise such as gunshots and air horns hearing may deteriorate gradually due to over stimulation of delicate hearing cells, leading to their permanent injury or even their death. Once lost, hearing cannot be restored in humans. There are a variety of prevention and mitigation strategies available to avoid or reduce hearing loss. If not prevented, hearing loss can be managed through assistive devices and cognitive therapies. You can follow certain tips from an audiologist.
Prevention of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL):
- Personal Noise Reduction Devices: Personal noise reduction devices can be passive, active or a combination. Passive ear protection includes earplugs or earmuffs which can block noise up to a specific frequency. Earplugs and earmuffs can provide the wearer with 10 dB to 40 dB of attenuation. However, use of such devices is only effective if the users have been educated and use them properly.
- Education is a Key to Prevention: Before hearing protective actions will take place, a person must understand they are at risk for NIHL and know their options for prevention. It has been observed in studies that educating workers in industry regarding use of hearing devices have helped use of such devices and thereby helped In prevention.
- Hearing Conservation Programs: Workers in general industry who are exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be in a hearing conservation program, which includes noise measurement, noise control, periodic audiometric testing, hearing protection, worker education, and record keeping.
- A study in 2012 has shown that certain Personal Listening Devices like supra-aural earphones blocked out background noise better than the other earphones, sound was listened to at a quieter, and safer volume. So use of such Personal Listening devices helps in prevention of NIHL.
Mitigation of Noise Induced Hearing Loss:
There is evidence that hearing loss can be minimized by taking mega doses of magnesium for a few days, starting as soon as possible after exposure to the loud noise. A magnesium-high diet also seems to be helpful a an NIHL-preventative if taken in advance of exposure to loud noise Consuming sizable amounts of magnesium can be potentially harmful, so this treatment should be followed with caution.