It’s football season, and everyone who has ever gone to a game knows that it can get quite loud. But is there such a thing as too loud? According to health officials, the answer is a resounding yes. However, this didn’t stop fans of the Seahawks when they faced the 49ers in their first home game of the season. Challenged by fans of the Chiefs (they, too, call themselves the loudest fans), Seahawk fans brought their pipes and were able to reach a decibel level of 131.9. The previous record for a sports match of any kind was 131.79, and this was for a Turkish soccer game.
So what’s the big deal? A bunch of fans screamed really loudly during a football game. Well, health officials warn that exposure to sound levels this high can actually cause permanent damage to one’s hearing. And it doesn’t have to be a long time either. One minute of exposure to noise this loud can result in permanent damage. At the very least, they will experience some ringing in the ears or sharp pain. Unfortunately, every person is different, so it’s tough to say whether a large number of people who leave CenturyLink will be in need of people to speak up when they talk to them. But it’s safe to say this is not a good idea.
With that in mind, a good question to ask is what does cause hearing loss? Then we might be able to avoid risks when necessary. Here are some of the most common causes:
Damage to the Inner Ear
Even if the people who went out to the Seahawks game didn’t experience acute hearing loss, that doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods. Exposure to noise that exceeds 85 decibels over time will result in damaged hair and cells in the cochlea. This is called Sensorineural hearing loss. Because these don’t grow back, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Damaged cochlea hair and cells diminish the ability of the cochlea to send signals to the brain. This is why one in three people have hearing loss by the age of 65. If you work in construction or other loud environments, this could occur even earlier.
Any change to the structure of the ear could lead to hearing loss. This could mean an infection of some sort or a tumor to the outer ear. It could also be something you incurred at birth, such as deformities from birth effects.
Earwax could build up in the ear canal, causing blockages and hearing loss. While the earwax can be removed, it’s important that you avoid using a Q-tip as you could possibly rupture your eardrum.
If you do notice that you can’t hear as well as you once did or experience acute hearing loss due to a loud noise or trauma to the ear, it’s important to consult with your otolaryngologist or audiologist. If you’re suffering from Sensorineural hearing loss, you’ll most likely be outfitted with a hearing aid.
A hearing aid consists of a microphone and other components created with cold forming technologies. The microphone receives the sound waves and converts them to electronic signals, which are then amplified by the amplifier. Finally, the speaker sends these signals to the ear. It could help ninety percent of the people with Sensorineural hearing loss. However, if you’re young and can avoid it by not, for example, going to the loudest game ever, it might be a good idea.
Tim Erikson is a former nurse from Pennsylvania. He currently works as an adjunt professor in community college nursing program.