Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is among the most prevalent forms of hearing loss.
Sensorineural types of hearing loss like this occur in 23 percent of people over the age of 65, but the distinction with hearing loss from noise is that, unlike the others, it is 100 percent preventable.
Here we discuss the causes of hearing loss caused by noise and explain how to prevent it from happening to you.
How loud is too loud?
How does noise damage your hearing?
The delicate hair cells in the cochlea are what are damaged when you are subjected to noise. The breakdown of these hair cells means that the brain can not obtain the required sound signals to process, which causes the loss of hearing. What's more, after the cells are destroyed, these hair cells do not regenerate. The damage is permanent.
Two forms of noise can damage your ears: Sudden and prolonged.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Prolonged Hearing Loss
Why are hunters most at risk?
Hunting is one high-risk practice that can permanently damage your hearing unless you wear ear protection. Most shooters will not hesitate to wear ear protection when spending an afternoon at the firing range, but when hunting outdoors, they seem to throw caution to the wind. Sadly, every shot chips away at one of the most valuable tools of hunting; the ability to hear.
A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin examined several thousand men over forty who hunt regularly. They discovered that hunters were more likely to suffer high-frequency hearing loss, and for every five years, they had their risk increased by seven percent.
Those with loss of high-frequency hearing have trouble hearing consonants such as "s," " th" or "v." They will often think people around then are mumbling, so they won't get their hearing tested as they don't know they're losing hearing.
Only five percent of all the men who took part in this study reported wearing hearing protection at some point in the past year! That means ninety-five percent wore no ear protection for hunting.