I am satyajit and this is NOT my story of sudden hearing loss
but my initiative to make people alert of the silence that comes into your life after the loudness.
Anything below 75db is music to your ears, anything above that is Noise!
What happened to me few months ago was destined… doctors identified it as viral infection that made my inner ear swell, leading to sudden hearing loss! In medical terms it’s actually a heart attack of the ear, where the cochlea is referred to as heart.
What is cochlea?
When you listen to music or any sound, the sound waves pass through your ear canal hitting the ear drum which amplifies the sound and the waves further hit the middle bones passing on to the cochlea… the heart of our ears!
Cochlea has about 15000 hair cells called the cilia which vibrates when they collide with the sound waves leading them to convert those waves into electric signals, these signals are passed on to the brain with the help of auditory nerve. Basically any loss of these cells will affect your hearing and can give you tinnitus.
Once the cilia is affected or traumatized they do not grow back. Mammals do not have the ability to regrow these cells. Only the birds and fishes do. The experiment to inject stem cells into the cochlea to make the cells regrow is still in process. Science is yet to achieve this challenging benchmark.
SSHL – Sudden Sensorineural hearing loss
As discussed in my first blog SSHL is a type of hearing loss or deafness that occurs in the ear due to some auditory nerve damage or deficient cochlea hair cell function caused by nerve trauma, viral infections, noise, tumors or ototoxic drugs.
Mine was purely viral as per the doctors.
Read: – The Guy who lost his hearing
One of the very similar term to Sensorineural hearing loss is Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), it occurs due to loud noise, concerts, amplifiers, gunfires, firecrackers and loud headphones. When the ear is exposed to loud noise; the shrill starts killing your inner cells. As the exposure time to loud noise increases, more and more hair cells are destroyed. As the number of hair cell decreases, your hearing also decreases! Experts believe that the risk of damaging your ear depends on two factors; the loudness and the duration of the loud noise. A continuous exposure to noise at or above 80-85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss.
We did a social experiment to measure the sound decibels in city traffic to make you understand what is noise pollution and the range that can cause ear damage.
After writing “The guy who lost his hearing” many people came up to me with doubts, questions and shockingly the same symptoms.
Before I encountered sudden hearing loss I would think that deafness can only happen to older people because with age their hearing gets “weaker” very much like their eye sight. The fact is as you age the hair cells or the nerve partially perishes leading to “weak” hearing.
It’s more unfortunate that hearing loss and tinnitus has now been shifted to a much younger generation and even small children. Sometimes it’s hereditary but in majority of the cases it’s the noise and the sound which kills your hearing.
There has been one such incident with a friend of mine who used to frequently visit concerts and clubs. It was one cursed day when he was sitting close to the speakers and progressively assaulting his ears the loud noise gave him the most annoying sound; the continuous ringing in the ears… better known as tinnitus.
As per my observation, many favor this disease. Well luckily this disease cannot spread through touch or by a mosquito bite but it has its own ways of getting transmitted. The most common method of transmission are those big tiny in the ears, over the ears, plastic nobs titled as headphones.
When you listen to the headphones you tend to increase the volume to the fullest either to enjoy the music or to cut down the surrounding sounds.
Now comes the logical part, you increase the volume to cut down the surrounding sounds but your brain and the ears try to absorb not just the music emitting from the headphones but also the surrounding sounds which adds to the decibels getting absorbed leading to a total dangerous noise levels. That’s when the noise cancellation headsets come into picture, although they are expensive but safer because they cancel the noise around you. But if you hear it with full volume you are definitely in the danger zone.
Headphones can generate up to 120 decibels and our ears can resists up to 100 decibels for just over 10 minutes!
The more you wear them the more you are at a risk of hearing loss.
Second most common method of transmission are the pubs and the clubs, the ultra-cool way to prove you are in the 21st century. Definitely, I am not against entertainment and fun…not even a bit but the sound emitted in these clubs and lounges are above 140 decibels that’s a MIG 29 flying just 4ft above the ground.
It’s high time that there has to be some regulations to control the noise levels inside these noisy amusement pubs and floors. The noisy floors can easily emit pathetically dangerous noise levels.
To attend my concern more genuinely, I am sharing a savior information with you. So if you get tinnitus after a gig or a concert there is a small window frame in which the ears might recover from the temporary trauma. As per research ears can take up to 16 hrs. to recover by themselves which means you need to rest your ears for a good 2-3 days if you want to hit the floor again!
But the chances are low and if you keep hampering your tiny cells they will eventually die off leading to hearing loss and tinnitus. People with tinnitus have a minute hearing loss as well but that doesn’t affect their normal life and the loss is so minute that it does not appear on any report.
There is a misconception that our bodies can recover anything by itself, but that’s not true. I want the readers to understand that our senses are very important and once lost they might not come back ever again.
I am listing some of the precautions which can be practiced on a daily basis to avoid Tinnitus and to protect your hearing .
- If you wish to use headphones try to use the noise cancellation over the ears headphones. With a thumb rule of 50-50 that is 50% volume for 50 mins.
- Try to avoid club and lounges for longer durations.
- When in clubs, lounges, events etc. make sure you take a break after every 40 minutes by going out or going away from the speakers for some time.
- Make a habit of protecting your ears when in noisy places. Wear ear plugs, cotton buds etc. Avoid noisy places if you can.
- Avoid going out in cold and windy weather.
- Remain cautious to sudden noise exposures in festive seasons.
- Avoid ototoxic drugs.
- Follow a good fitness regime.
- Eat healthy food.
- Try to stay in 75 decibels level as much as you can.
I cannot compel anyone to do what I say but I can request them to learn from my experience… to take care of their body. I wish someday I will stop getting mails and messages about sudden hearing loss and Tinnitus. May be then my effort to educate each one about this trauma will turn meaningful. As it is said learn from other’s mistake – I, The Audible Homosapien is here to help you avoid the irreversible consequences that you must be inviting…knowingly or unknowingly!
We went into a pub nearby to check the decibels :-
-Written by Satyajeet Godbole