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Acoustic trauma is injury to the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear. It is due to very loud noise. The injury can be related to one very loud noise such as an explosion or by exposure over a long period of time to lower volume loud noise such as machinery. Many people exposed to significant acoustic trauma will experience hearing loss, which can be temporary - sometimes called temporary threshold shift (TTS) - or in some cases permanent – sometimes called permanent threshold shift (PTS). If the acoustic trauma is significant enough patients can also sustain a ruptured eardrum (perforated tympanic membrane).
As soon as you notice hearing loss, it is important to make an appointment with an ENT and explain your situation. Hearing loss can sometimes be irreversible but seeking medical attention immediately gives the patient the best chance of returning hearing to normal. Your doctor will ask you what kind of noises you've been exposed to during different times of your life to help make a diagnosis. Your doctor may also use something called audiometry to detect signs of acoustic trauma. This test involves providing sounds of varying loudness and different tones to more carefully assess what you can and can't hear.
It is important to seek medical attention. The hearing loss may need treatment or it may resolve on its own. Hearing loss can be irreversible. Even if the hearing loss is permanent, treatment can protect further loss of hearing.
If you're experiencing hearing loss your doctor may prescribe medications such as oral steroids.
Technical Hearing Assistance
Your doctor may recommend technological assistance for your hearing loss condition, such as a hearing aid. New types of hearing aids called cochlear implants may also be available to help you deal with hearing loss from acoustic trauma.
Aural rehabilitation may help, which allows patients to learn how to live and work with hearing loss Surgery.
If there is a ruptured eardrum from the acoustic trauma surgery may be recommended to repair the eardrum.
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