Your child’s inner ears may be damaged if he or she is around extremely loud noises or around loud noises for long periods of time. This is called noise-induced hearing loss.
One way of describing noise is by decibels.
Level of safety
Type of noise
Permanent hearing loss may happen
Fireworks within 3 feet, guns, jet engine
Jet plane, siren, jackhammer
Personal music player set at loudest level, chain saw, radio-controlled airplane
Gradual hearing loss may happen over time
Loud noises can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and the hearing nerve. This is called sensorineural hearing loss or nerve deafness. Sensorineural hearing loss also has many other causes.
Hearing loss from loud noises may happen right away or slowly over a period of years. It may be permanent or temporary.
Your child may be around loud noise anywhere. Examples of noises that can cause hearing loss include:
Having trouble hearing is the main symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. Your child may have the following:
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask question about your child’s hearing. He or she will examine your child, paying close attention to the ears. Your child may be referred to a specialist for hearing testing.
Hearing testing is usually done by an audiologist or an ENT. An ENT is a specialist who treats problems with the ears, nose, and throat.
Once the hearing nerve is damaged, it is permanent. Treatment may include:
Permanent hearing loss is the most serious complication of noise-induced hearing loss. Regularly being around loud noise can also cause:
You and your children should use earplugs or muffs when you know you will be around loud noise. Earplugs fit into the outer ear. Earmuffs fit over the entire outside of the ear. Both help prevent hearing loss. Other things to do include:
Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent. To protect your child’s hearing from further damage and to help your child manage hearing loss:
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 | 773-702-1000
Appointments: Call UCM Connect at 1-888-824-0200