Short-term Hearing Loss is Not Protective
Posted by Audibel: The Hearing Center on May 17, 2013
May is Better Hearing Month and we want to shed light on a recent study led by a professor at the University of New South Wales. The study found that short-term hearing loss after sustained exposure to loud noise like a music concert can be the ear’s way of protecting our hearing. While the results are encouraging, it is important to understand constant loud noise can still permanently damage the ears.
Researchers found that cochlea cells in a person’s ear will release a hormone called ATP when exposed to loud noise. The ATP binds to a receptor in the ear and temporarily reduces hearing sensitivity. The lack of sensitivity explains why concertgoers may lose hearing for hours or days after being exposed to a rock concert.
However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of the hormone varies in people so you should not automatically assume the ATP would protect your hearing. The cochlea cells do not protect from prolonged loud noise that can lead to irreversible loss of high frequency hearing.
While the results are hopeful, it is too soon to assume that the ATP hormone will always protect ears from sound. The hormone might protect from certain levels of sound, but in the meantime it is still recommended to wear earplugs at concerts and when doing activities where the sound exceeds 85 dBs such as lawn mowing or using a chainsaw.
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