Does hearing continue to deteriorate after exposure to noise stops?

Posted by aba @aba, Nov 6, 2021

please try to help
When hearing impaired (especially at a young age), whether it is from loud music or being in a noisy environment (a soldier in NOISY AREA for years)

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?

M PELEG

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

@julieo4

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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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?

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@aba

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?

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@aba @julieo4 I am now 84 yrs old.. but when I was 19 and aboard a US Navy ship, a 5" gun was fired close to where I was standing on deck.. while my ears rang for a few hours… I thought I was indestructible in those days..
10+years after that event my hearing was noticeably not as good as it once was… A respected hearing doctor said that I had the symptoms of someone who had hearing loss caused by an explosion or very loud noise.. He explained that the tiny hair like sensing parts within my middle ear should be usually standing up… but unfortunately mine in that left ear (closest to that 5" gun fire) were lying flat… and could not sense the vibrations sent from the ear drum through those bones in the middle ear.. The Hearing in that left ear never got better…. when not subjected to that big noise..
My right ear just compensated for the left ear's lack of hearing.. The VA gives me hearing aids… as the hearing in my right ear is not very good for the last 20 yrs or so.. I have the hearing aids where the left one just sends what it hears to the right ear for mixing with what is heard from the right side… That is very helpful when riding in a car someone else is driving..

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@ken82

@aba @julieo4 I am now 84 yrs old.. but when I was 19 and aboard a US Navy ship, a 5" gun was fired close to where I was standing on deck.. while my ears rang for a few hours… I thought I was indestructible in those days..
10+years after that event my hearing was noticeably not as good as it once was… A respected hearing doctor said that I had the symptoms of someone who had hearing loss caused by an explosion or very loud noise.. He explained that the tiny hair like sensing parts within my middle ear should be usually standing up… but unfortunately mine in that left ear (closest to that 5" gun fire) were lying flat… and could not sense the vibrations sent from the ear drum through those bones in the middle ear.. The Hearing in that left ear never got better…. when not subjected to that big noise..
My right ear just compensated for the left ear's lack of hearing.. The VA gives me hearing aids… as the hearing in my right ear is not very good for the last 20 yrs or so.. I have the hearing aids where the left one just sends what it hears to the right ear for mixing with what is heard from the right side… That is very helpful when riding in a car someone else is driving..

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@aba @julieo4 Correct the above..comment to read… The respected hearing doctor said that those hair like sensing parts in my INNER ear were lying Flat … and could not function… thus the hearing loss…
Those tiny hair like parts of that Inner ear Cannot get back up … I heard such a loud noise that it flattened the ability to hear any more from that ear…

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@ken82

@aba @julieo4 Correct the above..comment to read… The respected hearing doctor said that those hair like sensing parts in my INNER ear were lying Flat … and could not function… thus the hearing loss…
Those tiny hair like parts of that Inner ear Cannot get back up … I heard such a loud noise that it flattened the ability to hear any more from that ear…

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i try to find the difference between one blast and hearing loss and a long period of noise and then long years of hearing loss going more and more down after not being in a noise environment anymore. one blast-or long time noise- the difference of losing hearing after noise source disappear

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@ken82

@aba @julieo4 Correct the above..comment to read… The respected hearing doctor said that those hair like sensing parts in my INNER ear were lying Flat … and could not function… thus the hearing loss…
Those tiny hair like parts of that Inner ear Cannot get back up … I heard such a loud noise that it flattened the ability to hear any more from that ear…

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That's a good way to explain what happens. The cochlear, which is the snail shaped organ has thousands of 'hair cells' that pick up sound and transmit it to the auditory nerve, which sends sound to the brain for interpretation. Think of those hair cells like a piano keyboard. When they start to die or malfunction, you miss the sound they were responsible for transmitting. Excess noise can damage those hair cells. They can go slowly or all at once as with a loud blast.

Hearing loss and tinnitus which is also related to those hair cells/cochlea is the most common disability experienced by veterans who have been in combat zones. Some have experienced constant moderate noise, while others have experienced loss due to a single blast near the ear.

That piano keyboard tends to lose sound and pitches in the higher ranges first. That is why most of us with sensorineural hearing loss have more trouble with high pitched voices than with lower pitched voices.

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@aba

i try to find the difference between one blast and hearing loss and a long period of noise and then long years of hearing loss going more and more down after not being in a noise environment anymore. one blast-or long time noise- the difference of losing hearing after noise source disappear

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I have hearing loss in my left ear as a result of loud noise I experienced as a youngster. I used to help my dad in the 1960's who was a parking lot contractor. I would put the rebar pins in the cement bumpers and he would come behind me with a jack hammer and pound them into the ground to hold the bumper into place. I also would move the wooden number stencils from each parking place to be painted by the paint machine that had a
go-kart engine that powered it and it was loud. My brother also helped out and he has the same hearing loss. We are now 50 years older but haven't got to the point of wearing hearing aides. I do have a really hard time in a room full of people and use closed caption on the TV about ½ the time.

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@aba

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?

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Your question seems simple but the answer is complicated.

There is the physical damage to the cochlea and then there is the auditory processing part of hearing. The ears ability to pick up sound and send electrical impulses to the brain is permanently damaged by noise. But the brain continues to change to adapt to conditions. If some sounds are not heard by the brain (due to noise damage) the brain forgets how to "hear" some sounds. The brain starts using that capacity in a different way. That is an ongoing process.

So my thought is that part of the hearing process is damaged by noise and stays that way while the auditory processing capacity continues to change through a persons life. AND everyone is different.

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@arrowshooter

Your question seems simple but the answer is complicated.

There is the physical damage to the cochlea and then there is the auditory processing part of hearing. The ears ability to pick up sound and send electrical impulses to the brain is permanently damaged by noise. But the brain continues to change to adapt to conditions. If some sounds are not heard by the brain (due to noise damage) the brain forgets how to "hear" some sounds. The brain starts using that capacity in a different way. That is an ongoing process.

So my thought is that part of the hearing process is damaged by noise and stays that way while the auditory processing capacity continues to change through a persons life. AND everyone is different.

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do you have theoretical papers that even when the noise stops hearing loss gets damaged more and more?

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@aba

do you have theoretical papers that even when the noise stops hearing loss gets damaged more and more?

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No. I’m just saying that the damage to the cochlea is done by the noise and the auditory processing system downstream from the ear is a different and ever changing system which affects what is “heard” as well

Sent from my iPhone

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@aba

do you have theoretical papers that even when the noise stops hearing loss gets damaged more and more?

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I guess the shot answer is YES, it can.

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@arrowshooter

I guess the shot answer is YES, it can.

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the main problem is that doctors do not think so. many of them say that when the noise stops – hearing loss also stops. I think that if a young man suffers a long time from the noise of shooting (army) – his hearing loss proceeds down for years, maybe slowly but consistently down. I look for academic research on this subject.thanks for any help

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@loribmt

Hi @aba You brought up some interesting questions about hearing loss. From what I’m reading, hearing loss does not progress once the noise level has been reduced.

I found some informational articles that might shed some light on the differences between acoustical damage and other factors which can result in hearing impairment.

The following is an excerpt from an article provided by the Workman’s Compensation Board of Alberta Canada. I’ve posted a link to that site below.
“ Hearing loss does not continue to deteriorate after noise exposure is removed. Hearing loss that occurs after the noise exposure is removed is related to other factors”
https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/providers/HCP_Hearing_loss.pdf
https://www.earq.com/hearing-health/articles/guide-to-noise-induced-hearing-loss
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072
Hopefully fellow mentor, @julie04, will be able to provide you with more comprehensive information. She is very active in our Hearing Loss group and offers peer support with The Hearing Loss Association of America, (HLAA)

Are you suffering from hearing loss?

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also found on google- " Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) develops slowly after many years of exposure. Susceptibility varies quite widely, but 10 Years or more of exposure is generally required for significant hearing loss"
to occur.13 july 2020

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