While hearing loss is predominantly linked to old age or disease, it can often happen because of some form of trauma to the head or inner ear. Examples include – a range of injuries, exposure to loud noises and exposure to extreme temperatures.
Below we look more closely at the most common type of injury that can result in hearing loss or impairment.
- Exposure to extreme loud noise
Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common cause of hearing loss after impairment resulting in old age.
According to the CDC (Centre for disease control and prevention), adults who report good to excellent hearing, in fact have measurable levels of hearing loss as a result of exposure to extreme noise in their lifetime.
Our ears can comfortably handle noises below 80 decibels (dB) has the potential to cause permanent damage to your hearing. Sounds measured at 80 dB, the equivalent of hearing a bus from the proximity of a sidewalk.
Noises above 110 dB can cause damage to your hearing within two minutes. Maximum levels of the music at live concerts usually reach about 110 dB.
Anything above 120 dB can result in pain and immediate and serious injury – this can be a loud siren or fireworks at proximity.
- Head Injury
The kind of force that causes concussion is enough to cause damage to the middle and inner ear. Injury to the portions of the brain that interpret and process speech and sound – can also lead to hearing loss. After experiencing any kind of head injury that result s in concussion, it is vital to seek medical attention.
Even if the head injury does not result I concussion one should be aware. Any experience of – tinnitus or loss of balance warrants medical attention.
- Head and Neck injury – Whiplash
Just as a concussion can cause damage to your inner ear structure, resulting in hearing loss, hearing complaints are common for people who experience whiplash.
The violent shaking of the head back and forth – known as whiplash – causes injury to the neck and brain stem (connecting the brain to the spinal cord). The resulting symptoms include hearing impairment, vertigo and issues with balance as well as dizziness.
- Injury or perforation to the ear drum.
The inner ear is a series of very delicate structures. There a reason health care professionals warn against using cotton swabs to clean your ears too often.
Sticking too many things into your ears could cause damage and perforation. Any kind of rupture in the ear drum leaves your middle ear susceptible to infection and build-up of bacteria.
Furthermore, it could lead to a build up of ear wax, blocking the ear canal – this is known as cerumen impaction.
This blockage affects the hearing adversely, but it is treatable and can be cleared and removed by a doctor.
- Exposure to extreme cold.
As temperatures drop, the chance of developing a ringing in the ears increases, cold temperatures can also affect the hearing.
Exostosis or more commonly known as ‘surfers’ ear’ is a condition which causes a growth in the ear canal, it forms as a result of the body trying to form a protective barrier against cold and wind – conditions often experienced by surfers.
In more extreme cold – frost bite, can cause significant damage to the skin and extremities. As you can imagine, the ears are incredibly vulnerable in these conditions. Damage from extreme cold can cause temporary or permanent hearing impairment.
It’s important to remember to protect your ears and hearing from the cold weather.
The ear is a delicate and intricate system, responsible for your sense of hearing – its important to stay informed on what can affect your hearing health, and to be aware of places where you can consult an industry professional, if you would like a check-up or a consultation on any concerning symptoms.
If you ever need any further advice when it comes to hearing damage and how you can protect your hearing, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Hearing Aid Labs South Africa. We also offer free hearing aid screenings, and our branches are open nationwide!