Acoustic trauma is injury or damage to the hearing mechanisms located in the inner ear. This damage is due to very loud noise. Many people exposed to significant acoustic trauma will experience hearing loss, which can be temporary - sometimes called temporary threshold shift (TTS) - or in some cases permanent - sometimes called permanent threshold shift (PTS). If the acoustic trauma is significant enough patients can also sustain a ruptured eardrum (perforated tympanic membrane). The injury can be related to one very loud noise such as an explosion or by exposure over a long period of time to lower volume loud noise such as machinery.
Hearing loss can sometimes be irreversible but seeking medical attention immediately gives the patient the best chance of returning hearing to normal. As soon as you notice hearing loss, it is important to make an appointment with an ENT specialist and explain your situation. Your doctor will ask you what types of noises you've been exposed to during various times of your life to help make an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may also use something called audiometry to detect signs of acoustic trauma. This test involves providing sounds of varying loudness and different tones to more carefully assess what you can and can't hear.
Hearing loss can be irreversible, it is important to seek medical attention. The hearing loss may need treatment or it may just resolve the issue on its own. Hearing loss can be irreversible. Even if the hearing loss is permanent, treatment can protect further loss of hearing.
Technical Hearing Assistance
Your doctor may recommend technological assistance for your hearing loss condition, such as a hearing aid. New types of hearing aids called cochlear implants may also be available to help you deal with hearing loss from acoustic trauma.
If you're experiencing hearing loss your doctor may prescribe medications such as oral steroids.
Aural rehabilitation may be an option, which allows patients to learn how to live and work with hearing loss Surgery.
Surgery may be recommended to repair the eardrum if it is ruptured from the acoustic trauma.