Biological Basis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss The effects of excessive noises on hearing have been studied experimentally for over a 100 years. It has, however, only been over the last decade or so that some major breakthroughs have occurred in our basic understanding of the ear's reaction to damaging sounds. These increments in our knowledge ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2004
Biological Basis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Brenda L Lonsbury-Martin
    ASHA, Speech-Language-Hearing and Research, Rockville, MD
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2004
Biological Basis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, April 2004, Vol. 12, 3-8. doi:10.1044/arii12.1.3-a
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, April 2004, Vol. 12, 3-8. doi:10.1044/arii12.1.3-a
The effects of excessive noises on hearing have been studied experimentally for over a 100 years. It has, however, only been over the last decade or so that some major breakthroughs have occurred in our basic understanding of the ear's reaction to damaging sounds. These increments in our knowledge base about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) promise to significantly improve the detection and treatment of this disorder over the coming years.
Depending on the level of the sound exposure, either reversible or permanent damage can occur to the cochlea. The reversible loss, usually referred to as a temporary threshold shift (TTS), results from exposures to moderately intense sounds that might be encountered, for example, at a philharmonic-orchestra concert. Hearing problems associated with TTS include elevated thresholds, particularly for the hearing-sensitivity region that includes the 3- to 6-kHz frequencies. Depending on the duration of the exposure, recovery from TTS can occur over time periods ranging from minutes to hours and days. After exposure, if TTS does not recover before the ear is re-exposed to excessive sound, a permanent change in hearing can occur that is referred to as a permanent threshold shift (PTS).
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