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It may be interesting for you to know that prior to 1988 very little research was being done on hearing loss. That was the year that the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders) was established within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most of the other institutes within NIH had been established many decades prior.

I mention this because so much of the research in this area is relatively new. Prior to the establishment of NIDCD, most research was done on total deafness, Deaf culture, manual communication as a resolution, etc.

The huge majority of the population with hearing loss is hard of hearing; not deaf. Further, the majority of those with profound hearing loss are people who remain in the hearing world with technology…or are people who struggle with adult onset hearing loss and don't know where or how to get help. They are not manual communicators, although a few may learn to use sign language. It is extremely difficult for a person who becomes 'hearing impaired' after the onset of language to become a part of the Deaf community. It has taken a long time to separate these 2 very different populations and a lot of confusion remains about what can be done to help the hard of hearing population regardless of degree of loss.

Years ago I was privileged to participate in a program presented by the person who was then, head of NIDCD. The discussion was about noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), it's cause, it's potential for cure, and its incidence. The theory then was that about half of the population had a predisposition to noise induced hearing loss. The other half did not. If that holds, we know that some people are not affected by extreme noise, while others are. Obviously, there is likely a genetic predisposition as well. In all cases, those with NIHL were warned that it was not curable, and to protect what hearing they had by avoiding extreme noise.

At that time, the late 80s; early 90s, cochlear implants were still considered experimental. Those who had received them were test subjects. The implants, then, were single channel devices that brought back sound to recipients, but little speech clarity. Thanks to more research being done, the attitude that NIHL cannot be cured or helped has changed. Cure, no, but help, yes. Cochlear implants today have brought sound and speech back to the majority of CI recipients, most of whom have NIHL or sensorineural hearing loss. They now have 24 channels, and can be mapped to an individual's needs. They are not 'cures', but are definitely a technology that can keep a person with profound hearing loss in the hearing mainstream.

So, final statement: PROTECT YOUR HEARING. Avoid extreme noise. Insist on appropriate ear protection if your work environment is noisy. Invest in ear plugs if you attend loud concerts, and turn down the sound when you can.

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Replies to "It may be interesting for you to know that prior to 1988 very little research was..."

I MUST ASK AGAIN -the main point is- Does the hearing continue to deteriorate even after you stop being in a noisy environment? Or if noise stops also stops a continuous decrease?
Is there a difference, regarding the continued deterioration in hearing, between acoustic damage resulting from a sudden noise (explosion for example) and which has not disappeared, and permanent acoustic sabotage after several years of exposure to noise and the hearing deterioration continues though slowly?

good words but no answer…Damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises. THAN IT progresses SLOWLY BUT GETTING MORE AND MORE LOSS HEARING. I AM LOOKING FOR THIS POINT IF ANY RESEARCH WAS DONE ABOUT IT.

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