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Health Encylopedia

Acoustic trauma
Definition An injury to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear, caused by excessively loud noise.
Alternative Names Injury - ear; Trauma - ear; Ear injury
Causes, incidence, and risk factors Acoustic trauma is a common cause of sensory hearing loss . Damage to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear may result from explosion near the ear, long exposure to loud noises such as loud music or loud machinery, or other recreational sound such as hunting. Acoustic trauma is a form of occupational hearing loss .
  • hearing loss
  • usually partial and involving high-pitched sounds
  • may be slowly progressive
  • noises, ringing in the ear (
  • tinnitus )
    Signs and tests Hearing loss after noise exposure is a good indicator of acoustic trauma. Audiometry may determine the extent of the hearing loss.
    Treatment The hearing loss may not be correctable. Treatment aims at healing the injury and protecting the ear from further damage. Improving the residual hearing with a hearing aid may benefit communication. Coping skills such as lip-reading and use of visual cues can be learned.
    Support Groups 
    Expectations (prognosis) Hearing loss may be permanent in the affected ear(s). Ear protection may prevent the hearing loss from worsening.
  • progressive
  • hearing loss
    Calling your health care provider Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms are suggestive of acoustic trauma, or any time that hearing loss occurs or worsens.
    Prevention Wear protective ear plugs or earmuffs to protect against damage from loud equipment. Beware of risks connected with activities such as shooting guns, using chain saws, driving motorcycles, or driving snowmobiles or similar vehicles. Do not listen to loud music for long periods of time.