Exposure to loud noise is an ear buster. Scientists and researchers have long known that exposure to loud noise, especially over an extended period, will cause hearing loss.
When you're exposed to loud noise over a long time - say in your work environment - damage to hearing can be measured at specific frequencies within the hearing spectrum. Damage from noise exposure is just not based on the level of loudness, it's also the length of time ears are exposed to loud noise.
Research, conducted at the Center for Sensory Biology at the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has revealed that lab rats can be genetically altered to withstand higher levels of sound for longer periods. Dr. Paul Fuchs, who authored the study, stated "We don't really know how things work in the ear at a cellular and molecular level. We're just starting to make those discoveries."
The findings of the Fuchs study are resonating throughout the hearing health community. The U.S. News report quotes Robert D. Frisina, who's the associate director of the University of Rochester's (NY) International Center for Hearing and Speech Research:
"The findings might also lead to drugs that could prevent noise-induced hearing loss, one of the most common forms of acquired, permanent hearing loss, as can occur in recreational activities, such as hunting or shooting, and from occupational settings, including factory or military work."
The interaction between the cochlea and the brain can modify and protect hearing to a degree but it's foolish to misinterpret these test results. The fact is that exposure to loud noise does cause damage - permanent, irreversible damage - to human hearing in many millions of cases.
However, the results do hold out the promise of drugs in the future that can protect hearing. This research shows that, through genetic manipulation, laboratory rats are better able to withstand loud noise without permanent damage. A "stronger" hearing system, in other words. However, none of the experts who reported on Dr. Fuchs' study suggested that a cure for hearing loss was at hand.
While the Johns Hopkins study should be seen as a hopeful message to those with hearing loss, the study does NOT suggest that hearing loss is a thing of the past. Far from it. Chances are, you'll do some damage to your hearing sometime today.
Turn it down. And hope that science can develop preventative solutions to existing hearing loss.
To read more about this study and how to protect your hearing from noise, read the full article: Natural Protection Against Hearing Loss.