The short answer to the question of whether loud noise could have caused your hearing loss is “Absolutely!” Loud noises can damage your hearing. But whether your specific hearing loss is due to loud noise is another question altogether.
In addition to exposure to loud noise, there are a variety of factors that can lead to hearing loss, including aging, heredity, illnesses, and even medication use. With all those variables, it can be difficult to pin down the exact reason why your hearing has suffered.
However, if you have participated in activities known to cause hearing damage, it’s very possible that your hearing loss is noise-induced.
We’ve listed three common activities that contribute to hearing damage below. If you’ve participated in the included activities, you may have found the origin of your hearing loss!
1. Work-related hearing loss
According to the CDC, occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States with about 22 million U.S. workers being exposed to hazardous levels of noise at work every year.
In addition, over 30 million U.S. workers are exposed annually to chemicals that may be harmful to hearing.
Have you worked near loud machinery on a regular basis, like in a factory setting or on a construction site? Have you toiled in landscaping or on a farm? Maybe your occupation has you hanging out in noisy areas unrelated to machinery, like in a concert venue.
If so, you may be suffering hearing loss due to the environment at your workplace.
2. Shooting sports and hunting
Hunting and shooting sports are common recreational activities. Shooting without ear protection can cause hearing loss. Nearly all firearms create sounds over 140 decibels, a decibel level that can permanently damage hearing.
If you are shooting in an enclosed area, like a shooting range, the sounds reverberate, becoming even louder.
When firearm enthusiasts experience hearing loss, it is often high-frequency hearing loss, which means they will have difficulty understanding high-pitched sounds and voices.
Oftentimes, those who partake in firearm activities suffer hearing loss in one ear or have more advanced hearing loss in one ear, depending on whether they held the gun most often in their left or right hand.
Unfortunately, many gun enthusiasts choose not to wear hearing protection when shooting, and with no hearing protection, the chance of hearing damage is high. In fact, hearing damage can occur after a single exposure to recreational shooting.
If you have participated in shooting sports without ear protection, your hobby may have led to the hearing loss you’re experiencing now.
3. Loud transportation methods
Did you know riding a motorcycle can lead to hearing loss? It takes only 50 minutes of exposure to the noise a motorcycle creates to damage your hearing. The next time you hop on your bike for a spin or for your morning commute, don’t forget to protect your ears! If you’ve been a regular rider and you now have difficulty hearing, your motorcycle may have been the culprit.
Keep in mind that motorcycles are not the only form of transportation that pose a danger to your ability to hear. Snowmobiles and other loud recreational vehicles can cause hearing damage as well.
If you’ve enjoyed activities in the past that put your hearing health at risk, your hearing loss may be noise-induced.
The good news is hearing aids can help with noise-induced hearing loss. We recommend that you consult a physician about your hearing loss if you haven’t already. You can also use our Online Hearing Check to gauge your level of hearing loss. However, please be aware that it is not an official diagnosis.
If you engage in any of the above activities and haven’t yet experienced hearing loss, please take precautions. Wear hearing protection when engaging in noisy past-times!
If you have questions about which hearing aid is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact our Advanced Affordable Hearing team at 1 (800) 804-0434.