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Acoustic Trauma

Overview

An injury to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear, caused by excessively loud noise.

Acoustic trauma can be caused by a sudden and powerful sound like an explosion. Explosions often lead to damaged ear drums and consequently conductive hearing loss.

Many people have experienced a period of reduced hearing after exposure to loud sounds, for example after a concert or a visit to a discotheque or after having worked with noisy equipment. This kind of hearing impairment is often temporary. After some time the trauma will stop.

If Acoustic trauma continues, it will typically lead to hearing impairment within a relatively narrow frequency around 4 kHz. In other words, the person will be unable to hear within a certain range of high frequency tones.

In certain daily situations, this may not bother people. But in more noisy environments, they may have problems hearing. Sometimes a hearing aid can be of help to people suffering from permanent Acoustic trauma.


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Causes

Acoustic trauma is a common cause of sensory hearing loss . Damage to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear may resultfrom explosion near the ear, certain musicians, long exposure to loud noises such as loud music or loud machinery, or otherrecreational sound such as hunting. Acoustic trauma is a form of occupational hearing loss .


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Signs & Symptoms

hearing loss- usually partial and involving high-pitched sounds- may be slowly progressive- noises, ringing in the ear (tinnitus)

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Prevention

Wear protective ear plugs or earmuffs to protect against damage from loud equipment. Beware of risks connected with activitiessuch as shooting guns, using chain saws, driving motorcycles, or driving snowmobiles or similar vehicles. Do not listen to loudmusic for long periods of time.


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Treatments
Hearing Therapy Naturopathy

The hearing loss may not be correctable. Treatment aims at healing the injury and protecting the ear from further damage. Improving the residual hearing with a hearing aid may benefit communication. Coping skills such as lip-reading and use of visual cues can be learned.

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