Approximately 30 million workers in the US are exposed to hazardous noise on the job. Audicus tried to compile the available data on the incidence of hearing loss in occupations where the average noise levels are above the 90dB safety limit – and the numbers were astounding. In manufacturing or even agriculture, workers are at least three times as likely to experience hearing loss when they are 50 years old– in other industries it’s up to six times!
Prevent Hearing Loss: Mind those Sirens, Bomb blasts and Squealing Pigs
In mining and construction, 2 out of 3 workers will experience hearing loss by the time they are 50. Most of it is due to the use of heavy equipment (think jackhammers and heavy drills), the drilling of rock and the confined work environment. What is particularly alarming is that the ability to hear well is essential to maintaining standards of safety – which, if jeopardized, can put workers in such extreme environments in a life threatening situation.
Here you can find some of the common Hearing Loss is expressed below:
One of the most basic and treatable causes of hearing loss is ear infection. Also called Otitis Media, ear infections involve inflammation of the middle ear. In the acute stages, a cold or allergies lead to mucus build up and the blockage of the Eustachian tube. This tube within the ear allows for drainage from the middle of the ear and maintains the pressure equilibrium. When it becomes blocked with fluid and bacteria, the bacteria can then multiply and continue the cycle. Depending on the thickness of the fluid, hearing loss ranges from 24 to 45 decibels. Ear infections are usually treated with antibiotics and will clear up within 10 days.
If an ear infection goes too long untreated, the buildup of pressure in the middle ear can cause a ruptured eardrum. Other causes of rupture include barotrauma, when the pressure is unbalanced between the middle ear and the outside air, foreign objects in the ear, or most commonly, loud sounds. The eardrum acts as the all-important barrier between the middle and external ear. It is made up of three layers – a thin, mucousy membrane inside, a rigid middle layer, and an outer layer of skin. When the pressure builds, a tear can form in the layers, resulting in possible drainage. Sounds can no longer move through the ear, therefore causing hearing loss. Most perforations will close independently, however surgery is necessary in some instances.
Inner Ear Damage
Damage to the inner ear allows for hearing loss to occur slowly over time. The inner ear is often called the vestibular system and includes tiny hairs on the cochlea used for hearing. There are rows of outer hairs that determine softer sounds and differentiate between similar sounds. The inner hairs conversely pick up on loud sounds. When overly exposed to loud sounds, the hairs break down, and the nerve cells are no longer stimulated. Hereditary abnormalities may also make some more prone to the breakdown of hairs than others. Unfortunately, once gone, these hairs cannot be regrown, so treatment often includes hearing aids to rectify the problem.
Hearing loss may occur due to the buildup of earwax. Though usually temporary, wax can provide a blockage in the ear canal and cause hearing loss. The ear canal produces cerumen, also known as earwax, which helps block foreign objects such as dust and microorganisms from entering the ear. The ear does a good job of flushing out excess wax, but when the gland overproduces, wax can harden. Sound can no longer move through the canal, so the wax must be removed. Attempting to remove the wax with a cotton swab may force the substance deeper into the ear. Instead, its best to soften the wax with mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide to help it naturally exit the ear. More extreme cases require medical interference.
The high levels of omega 3 fats and Vitamin D generally found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout or sardines, can have highly positive effects on hearing loss. Studies have shown that adults who ate fish twice a week had a 42% lower chance of facing age-related hearing loss than non-fish eaters. The main reason, researchers claim, is that Omega 3 fats strengthen the blood vessels in our ear’s sensory system. Fish is your ear’s friend; stock up on it.
Anti-oxidants & Folic Acid as Supplements for Hearing Loss
A regular intake of antioxidants, especially in the form of folic acid commonly found in spinach, asparagus, beans, broccoli, eggs, liver or nuts, can reduce the risk of hearing loss by up to 20%. Antioxidants act as hearing loss supplements by reducing the number of free radicals that swirl through your body, which can otherwise damage the nerve tissue in your inner ears.
Magnesium as a Hearing Loss Supplement
Magnesium, commonly found in bananas, potatoes, artichokes or broccoli, has been shown to provide additional protection against noise induced hearing loss. Eating a strand of 5 bananas a day doesn’t give you the excuse to crank up that iPod volume though.
Zinc as a Vitamin for Hearing Loss
You can increase your inner ear’s resistance to the boon of age related hearing loss by keeping a healthy dose of Zinc. This can be found in dark chocolate or oysters, among many.
Vitamin C, E & Glutathione as Supplements for Hearing
Similar to antioxidants, Vitamin C/E act as hearing loss supplements that keep free radicals in check and strengthen your overall immune system, thus reducing the risk of ear infections. The source is easy to find: vegetables (e.g. oranges) and fruits (e.g. bell peppers).