Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (Acoustic Trauma)
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Hearing loss caused by loud noises is called noise-induced hearing loss (acoustic trauma). It is more common for gradual hearing loss to occur from long-term (chronic) exposure to loud noise than from a sudden (acute) loud burst of sound. Hearing loss may be temporary or permanent. Long-term exposure to loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss.
Common causes of acoustic trauma include:
- Loud music, such as live musical performances and home, auto, or portable stereo systems. Hearing loss is usually temporary but can be permanent.
- Industrial sounds, such as traffic, sirens, jet engines, power tools, chain saws, jackhammers, or hydraulic machinery.
- Physical injury to the ear. Severe injury can
rupture the eardrum. Physical injury can be caused by:
- A blow to the side of the head.
- An explosive burst of sound close to the ear, such as when an air bag is set off during a motor vehicle accident.
- Rapid changes in environmental pressure, such as from underwater diving or descending in an airplane.
Most people stop hearing high-frequency sounds, such as bells and chimes, first. Later, it becomes harder to hear lower-frequency sounds, such as voices.
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|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||January 11, 2012|
Last Revised: January 11, 2012
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