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External Causes of Hearing LossĀ 

Woman with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs for a number of reasons; some of those reasons are from internal factors like genetics or illnesses, while others are from external factors such as exposure to loud noises and lifestyle. Here are some common external factors that can cause hearing loss.  

1. Concerts

Concerts are notorious for producing a ringing sensations in your ear afterwards; however, what does that ringing actually mean? The name for that noise is called tinnitus and it happens after the tiny nerve endings in your ear are damaged. While it may not seem cool, but wear earplugs to lessen the extent of damage caused by loud noises in your future concerts.  

2. Headphones

You might think you’re being a good neighbor by wearing headphones to listen to music instead of blasting it over your speaker. While this is great for your neighbor, it is not as much for yourself. That concentrated, often very loud, music has nowhere to go but straight into your ear. The loudness of the music can damage sensitive nerve endings. To prevent hearing loss due to overuse of headphones, make sure the volume is turned down. You should also try to limit your listening time while wearing headphones. A good rule is the “60/60 rule;” listen to your headphones at 60 percent of the volume for no longer than 60 minutes at a time.

3. On the job noise

While many workplaces have taken steps to mitigate loud noises on the job and offer better safety protocols, exposure to excessive noise on the job can still lead to hearing loss. Machinery and power tools emit a constant roar of noise. To protect yourself, make sure you wear appropriate ear protectors; not all are created equal so seek the advice of an audiologist to make sure your gear reflects the conditions of your workplace. You should also take routine breaks throughout the day and find a quiet place to rest your ears.  

4. Explosive noises

When used safely, fireworks are a fun past time to witness. However, those in charge of the fireworks show and those close to the explosions are at risk of damage to their ears. Other examples of explosive noises include gunshots and firecrackers. Explosions create powerful sound waves that actually have the ability to rupture your eardrum. Make sure that you stay back from scheduled explosive sounds or, better yet, wear protective headgear like ear plugs.  

5. Pressure changes

If you have been on an airplane, you have likely felt the sensation when your ears start to plug up and the blissful release when your ears suddenly pop. While this is a common occurrence, pressure change does come with the risk of damage to all parts of your ear and even hearing loss. Scuba diving is also a leading cause of pressure change, which is why you should always be fully trained before attempting a dive. This training will accurately teach you how to dive and surface gradually to mitigate the risk of severe pressure change, ear damage and possible hearing loss.  

If your eardrums are damaged from pressure change, they most often heal themselves. However, in serious cases, you may need surgery. Check with your doctor if you are exposed to pressure changes that damage your ear.