If you regularly read our blog posts or follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and how to prevent it, is a running theme. As they say, “An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.” Your ears are fragile; exposure to loud sounds often results in permanent hearing loss.

Researchers from Stanford School of Medicine offer hope that it may not be permanent. They’ve discovered a possible “window for treatment” in their study with a mouse model. Loud sounds, once thought to permanently destroy the delicate cochlea, are now believed to damage the hair and nerve cells that send sound signals to the brain. If immediate treatment with anti-inflammatory medications is administered, the damage is limited.

Though human studies have not yet been performed, this research does offer hope, especially to U.S. service men and women who’ve been exposed to loud blasts during combat.

Tinnitus, a condition causing a ringing, buzzing or humming sound in the ears, and hearing loss are the most common service-related issue reported by military personnel after deployment. But NIHL can affect anyone exposed to sounds above 85 decibels.

Do your hobbies or your career expose you to loud sounds?  If so, we strongly recommend using hearing protection products to prevent damage to your ears. We offer custom-made products for many career and leisure activities. If you believe you’ve already suffered hearing loss, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Our main office is in Mason City, but we have other practices throughout northern Iowa and in Albert Lea, Minnesota.