Our Valley Santa Clarita July/August 2016 - Page 25

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Q: How can I tell if my hearing has been affected by noise? A: Hearing loss has become the third most common health problem in the nation. This increase comes, in part, from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL can happen to anyone at any age, and can happen anywhere there are loud noises. Despite this growing problem, there is little national attention and many people still don’t understand how to avoid or prevent damage, or even how to recognize subtle changes in hearing. Inside the ear are small, delicate hairs that help conduct the noise that constitutes a large part of your hearing. Injury to these hair cells comes from exposure — sudden or prolonged — to loud noises. Noise can damage hearing if the decibels (dB) are too high, if it is too close to your ears, or if it is heard for long periods of time. This can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. If you think you’ve already experienced dangerous sound levels and want to find out if you have hearing damage, you should visit a hearing specialist — an audiologist. Hearing loss should be found and dealt with before it spirals into other issues like depression and brain atrophy. As a simple test to tell if your hearing has been affected, think about how your ears react to situations with loud noise. If there is pain, a feeling of having your ears temporarily blocked, the need to shout in order to be heard, or a temporary buzzing or ringing, chances are you have experienced some damage to your hearing. If you have questions about hearing more clearly, contact our hearing experts at Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology, 661-505-1135. If you have questions you’d like to “Ask the Audiologist”, please email Nola@scvadvancedaudiology. com