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Exposure to loud noise over a long period of time will damage the sensitive nerve endings in the cochlea and result in a permanent sensorineural hearing loss. It usually occurs gradually over a long period of time and tends to affect the higher pitched tones. You may find it difficult to hear a watch ticking or a kettle whistling.

Gradually the lower pitched sounds will be affected as well. When this occurs speech will become difficult to understand, sounds will be muffled and ringing in the ear may become permanent.

Loss may also occur very suddenly if you are exposed to a loud explosion, blast or shot from a gun. The louder the noise, the higher the decibel level and the greater the risk of permanent damage.

To prevent noise induced hearing loss following precautions should be taken:

  • Personal music systems (iPod’s,┬ácomputer speakers, car radios etc)┬ásound be kept at a low volume
  • Use ear plugs when attending loud rock concerts and clubs, operating noisy machinery, or working on industrial sites

Background noise is too loud if:

  • you find that you have to shout to be heard, as you do in a place when loud music is playing or around machinery
  • you cannot hear conversation more than two feet away from you
  • you find that certain noises hurts your ears
  • your ears ring after you leave a noisy place
  • you do not hear well after exposure to a loud noise and find that your ears are DULL

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