Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Irreversible?


It’s very common for people to have loss of hearing caused by repeated subjection to loud noise. If you are constantly exposed to noise that that is over 85 decibels, your hearing might be irreversibly damaged.

Exactly How Does Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Work?

There are tiny hair cells in your inner ear which can be permanently harmed by loud noise. This is called sensorineural hearing loss.

A progressive deterioration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are exposed to very loud noise for a long period of time. Immediate damage can also occur if you are exposed to a burst of extremely damaging noise all at once.

Over 17 percent of people between 20 to 69 have hearing loss that is a result of their work or recreational activities. Some illustrations of noises that can result in hearing loss might include:

  • Jet engines
  • Motorcycles
  • Loud volume on earphones
  • Nearby fireworks
  • Busy Traffic
  • Chainsaws
  • Jackhammers
  • Sirens

Can it be Reversed?

There is currently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (though scientists are hard at work on it). Some of the damage inside your ear could be due to inflammation so you should consult a doctor if you have been exposed to sudden loud noise. If you could minimize the inflammation you may be capable of reducing some permanent damage. The hair cells inside of your inner ear are responsible for sending waves of sound to your brain. They never regenerate once they are destroyed. So once they are gone, irreversible hearing loss is the result. This is the reason why it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect your hearing, and if you’re exposed to a loud noise, that you consult a specialist right away.

Addressing The Problem With Research

There is currently no cure for this condition. However, researchers are looking for ways to restore noise-induced hearing loss. There are clinical trials, for example, that are trying to regrow these hairs with an experimental drug. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can harm these hairs, but restoration would help restore hearing if researchers are able to get the drug to work.

What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected

Noise related hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take certain steps to protect your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. You can:

  • If there are areas that always have loud noise – stay away from them
  • Limit your exposure to very noisy activities at home
  • If you work in an occupation that has consistently loud noise, use the recommended hearing protection
  • Treat any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
  • Undergo routine hearing tests

Keeping the volume down on your devices, wearing ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to protect your hearing. Make an appointment for a hearing exam if you have been exposed to loud noise.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.