It’s common to associate hearing loss with old age, when in fact it can impact anyone of any age. It turns out, people who work around cars and car parts may be especially at risk. We review the connection below.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
As the name suggests, noise-induced hearing loss is hearing loss caused by exposure to dangerously loud noises. You can experience noise-induced hearing loss after long-term exposure to moderately loud sounds or brief exposure to excessively loud sounds. For example, if you’re exposed to highway traffic (85 dB), it will take eight hours or more of exposure to cause damage, while if you’re exposed to the sound of a shotgun blast (140 dB), it can cause damage instantaneously.
The reason for this comes down to the sensory cells within the cochlea. These cells, called stereocilia, convert soundwaves into electrical impulses that travel to the brain via the auditory nerve to be interpreted as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy the cells, causing permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
The Link Between Working with Cars & NIHL
Several studies have linked working in auto repair shops or auto parts factories with noise-induced hearing loss.
- A study from 2021 sought to investigate the prevalence of high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL) of workers in an automobile factory so they could provide a scientific basis for occupational health management of noise workers. Researchers collected data from 2,647 workers; 17.2% of whom had HFHL. Those most at risk were male, over 30 and smoked.
- Another study from 2019 also aimed to investigate the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the automotive industry. The researchers administered surveys and hearing tests to 6,557 participants; 28.82% had NIHL. The main determinants of NIHL were cumulative noise exposure and non-use of hearing protector devices.
How to Protect Your Hearing
Per OSHA, your workplace should provide adequate hearing protection if exposed to hazardous noise levels. You can purchase disposable earplugs at Denver True Value, but for custom hearing protection, you can visit an audiologist at Advantage ENT & Audiology.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Advantage ENT & Audiology today.