Exposure to harmful noise that is too loud and results in deterioration of hearing levels.
This noise could be for a short time period such as a loud bang, or exposure over a long period of time.
The impact of this noise exposure could be felt for a temporary time, or it could permanently affect your hearing ability.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss may be experienced in just one ear, or both ears depending on the source of the loud noise and duration.
We spend most of our lives at work, so the most sounds we are exposed to happen in this environment.
Loud work environments such as construction sites and night clubs are exposed to long durations of harmful noises which require regular hearing protection.
Other environments that may experience shorter bursts of loud noise include front line emergency services where the sound of sirens and gunshots can be at dangerous levels.
Because hearing levels often decrease gradually over time it can be hard to notice a difference.
Often we make small changes to compensate for this such as turning up the volume on the TV or when listening to music. Unconsciously we start to lip read so we don't fall behind in conversations, and find it challenging when there is background noise.
Other key signs are:
If you can relate to any of the above, the good news is that there are many ways you can improve your hearing health.
Being proactive in wearing hearing protection, recognising these signs early, and having regular hearing checks is the best way to look after your hearing.