Hörschaden: Auslöser, Symptome, Prävention

Hearing damage: Triggers, symptoms, prevention

Hearing damage is generally caused by hereditary factors, noise, illness or age. The most common forms include age- and noise-induced hearing loss. While hearing function gradually declines naturally with age due to wear and tear, this process can lead to serious damage at a young age due to excessive or prolonged exposure to sound.

The first signs of hearing damage can be tinnitus, lack of perception of high-pitched sounds and difficulty understanding conversations with background noise. The frequency ranges from 4000 Hertz upwards are usually affected at the beginning, but the damage progressively spreads to other ranges.

Born hearing damage

There are numerous reasons why children are born with hearing impairment. On the one hand, genetic factors are a typical factor. However, damage to the child's hearing can also occur during pregnancy and at birth. In some cases, the causes of congenital hearing impairment cannot be fully determined. If hearing impairment is present from birth, this often has a serious impact on speech development. Newborn hearing screening should be used to ensure the earliest possible detection, rapid treatment and mitigation of consequential damage.

Hearing damage due to noise

Excessive noise is capable of damaging the hair cells in the inner ear because it constricts the blood vessels. As a result, the hair cells are less well supplied with blood and suffer a lack of oxygen. The lack of oxygen in turn prevents the hair cells from functioning properly, namely the transmission of nerve impulses. The damage to the hair cells is irreparable. However, this can be prevented by wearing hearing protection, taking sufficient breaks from listening and avoiding noise. This applies in particular to jobs or hobbies that involve a high level of noise exposure.

noise-induced hearing loss.

Hearing damage due to headphones

Noise is not only present in the workplace, but also in everyday life. Listening to music, which is not always at a moderate volume, is particularly important here. Hearing damage from headphones occurs when the ears are exposed to excessively loud music via headphones over a longer period of time. Activatable smartphone warnings regarding the appropriateness of the music volume serve as a practical guideline here.

Hearing damage due to loud music

Loud music without the use of headphones can also be harmful. Hearing damage from loud music is mainly caused by concerts, festivals and clubs. At these events, music is sometimes played at volumes of 100 dB or more and is therefore clearly harmful to hearing. Anyone who frequently attends events of this kind should consider wearing hearing protection.

Hearing damage after a concert

Hearing damage after a concert is usually temporary. It typically manifests itself in dull hearing and ringing in the ears, which disappears again within a few hours. In the long term, however, the hearing damage can manifest itself, as clubs and concerts produce extreme volumes that would already require protective measures in workplaces.

Hearing damage from how many dB?

According to the Workplace Ordinance, employers must provide hearing protection for their employees if noise exposure exceeds 80dB over a period of 8 hours. From 85dB, the actual wearing of the protection must already be checked by the employer. It can therefore be assumed that in the long term, noise levels above 80dB can lead to hearing damage. The WHO also recommends exposing yourself to volumes above 100dB for a maximum of 15 minutes a day.

What hearing damage is there?

As already mentioned in the introduction, there are different types of hearing damage. A basic distinction is made between sensorineural, conductive and combined hearing loss. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the types of hearing impairment.

Hearing loss in children and adolescents

Hearing impairment in children and adolescents is becoming increasingly common. In addition to hereditary hearing damage, noise plays a particularly important role here. For this age group, potentially harmful sources of noise can be found in the leisure sector in particular. The negative consequences can be prevented, for example, by using quiet toys (provided the toys emit sound) and, of course, by wearing hearing protection and generally avoiding noise.

Antibiotics cause hearing damage

Nicotine, alcohol and various medications can have an impact on hearing. In the medical field, antibiotics for bacterial infections are suspected of causing hearing loss. Aminoglycoside antibiotics in particular are heavily criticized. This antibiotic can damage the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, which are responsible for sound transmission. The risk is particularly high in newborn premature babies.