Noise-induced hearing loss.
Am Fam Phys 2000 May; 61(9):2749-2756
Hearing loss caused by exposure to recreational and occupational noise results in devastating disability that is virtually 100 percent preventable. Noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common form of sensorineural hearing deficit, after presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). Shearing forces caused by any sound have an impact on the stereocilia of the hair cells of the basilar membrane of the cochlea; when excessive, these forces can cause cell death. Avoiding noise exposure stops further progression of the damage. Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by avoiding excessive noise and using hearing protection such as earplugs and earmuffs. Patients who have been exposed to excessive noise should be screened. When hearing loss is suspected, a thorough history, physical examination and audiometry should be performed. If these examinations disclose evidence of hearing loss, referral for full audiologic evaluation is recommended.
Noise induced hearing loss; Hearing disorders; Hearing loss; Occupational exposure; Noise exposure; Noise protection; Cell damage; Audiological testing
Peter M. Rabinowitz, M.D., M.P.H., Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, Yale University School of Medicine, 135 College St., 3rd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510-2483
American Family Physician
Yale University, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, New Haven, CT 06510