Have you ever found yourself experiencing a short-term loss of hearing or ringing in the ears? Take notice – this is a warning from your body that you are causing damage to your hearing.
A temporary threshold shift is what we call a short-term loss or reduction of hearing which happens after exposure to a loud or intense noise, for example, or an explosion or a rock concert. A person may also experience tinnitus (a ringing in the ears) at the same time.
The threshold shift is the result of damage to the tiny hair cells within the cochlea. These cells are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain via electrical impulses, and when these cells are damaged, the brain does not receive the sound signals.
A person normally recovers within a few minutes or hours, but if your hearing does not recover within a few days, you should seek medical advice. The best course of action is to take a break from any loud sounds.
Prevention is the key! Plan to use hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs when you put yourself into noisy situations.
The more severe injury to a temporary threshold shift is a permanent threshold shift. A permanent threshold shift is when the ability to hear is reduced permanently, which causes a permanent hearing loss. The damage is now irreversible and permanent.