Houston Hearing Loss Attorneys
The Two Different Forms of Acoustic Trauma
Acoustic trauma, also known as hearing loss, is induced by noise exposure.
There are two forms of acoustic trauma:
- One that occurs from acute noise injury or sudden exposure to excessively loud noise.
- One that occurs from chronic noise exposure, where small noise injuries incurred over time accumulate and result in hearing loss.
Acute noise injuries can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. Whether someone experiences an explosion, for example, sudden exposure to loud noises causes injury to the hair cells in the lower portion of the cochlea, the part of the ear responsible for picking up high-frequency sounds. This can result in sounds seeming to be muffled, ears feeling "full," and a diminished ability to hear high-frequency sounds. A person with an acute noise injury might also experience ringing in the ears. While symptoms usually resolve in one to two days, a particularly bad injury could cause such severe hair cell damage that some of the hearing loss is permanent.
Chronic noise exposure, while seemingly less traumatic, can cause more permanent hearing damage. It occurs over an extended period, as a result of continued exposure to repetitive, loud, noises such as construction work or heavy machinery in operation. As repeated noise exposure occurs, small noise injuries build up, first damaging, then killing hair cells, resulting in permanent and irreversible hearing loss.