Acoustic trauma is injury to the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear due to very loud noise.
Acoustic trauma is a common cause of sensory hearing loss. Damage to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear may be caused by:
The health care provider will usually suspect acoustic trauma if hearing loss occurs after noise exposure. Audiometry may determine how much hearing has been lost.
The hearing loss may not be treatable. The goal of treatment is to protect the ear from further damage. Eardrum repair may be needed.
A hearing aid may help you communicate. You can learn coping skills, such as lip reading.
Hearing loss may be permanent in the affected ear. Ear protection may prevent the hearing loss from getting worse.
Progressive hearing loss is the main complication of acoustic trauma.
Tinnitus (ear ringing) can also occur.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
Injury - inner ear; Trauma - inner ear; Ear injury
Lonsbury-Martin BL, Martin GK. Noise-induced hearing loss. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 151.
Reviewed by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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