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Is noise damage causing your hearing to be muffled?

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You may have a hard time hearing after going to a concert but wake up just fine the next morning, or you may notice your hearing isn't good after years of working in a noisy factory. These are both examples of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

NIHL happens when there is a short blast of loud noise or when you’re exposed to loud noise for a long time. Constant exposure to loud noises can cause high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. The sounds can damage the inside of your ear and lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. Common causes include:

There's no treatment to bring back the hearing that's been lost. To protect what you have, wear earplugs or earmuffs around loud noise, and talk to your doctor so you can avoid medications that may cause hearing loss, such as high doses of aspirin.

  • One-time exposure to an intense sound, like an explosion
  • Long-term exposure to loud sounds, like in a factory
  • Target shooting/hunting without proper ear protection
  • Listening to loud music through headphones
  • Going to loud concerts

From: Why Is My Hearing Muffled? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

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