Researchers Discover Possible Treatment for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

If you’re repeatedly exposed to extremely loud noises, and don’t wear hearing protection, you will develop noise-induced hearing loss over time. About 15 percent of American adults have permanent, high-frequency hearing loss from loud noise exposure. Recently, researchers discovered a possible treatment solution to help prevent people from experiencing noise-induced hearing loss.

Man and woman looking at phone

Hearing damage

People are born with about 16,000 tiny hair cells in the inner ear. These hair cells work with neurons in the ear to transmit sounds to the brain where they are interpreted.

When people are subjected to loud noises, the sensory hairs are damaged. The inner ear fills with excess fluid, which makes the ears feel full and can create a ringing sound. The fluid kills neuron cells in the ear that work with hair cells to conduct hearing.

Salt and sugar treatment

Historically, noise-induced hearing loss could not be reversed. But recently researchers at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine discovered a possible solution. They found high levels of potassium in the fluid that develops in the inner ear after hearing damage occurs. Scientists determined that injecting solutions of salt and sugar into the inner ear within three hours of noise damage could help prevent neuron loss.

More research

Researchers continue to study noise-induced hearing loss to better understand how damage occurs. They want to confirm the treatment process in hopes that hearing damage from loud noises can be prevented.

Prevent hearing loss

When you’re at an event and have to shout to be heard, the noise level is too high and could cause hearing loss. Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs at loud events and turning down the volume when listening to digital devices or your car stereo.

Scheduling routine hearing exams will help medical professionals detect hearing loss before it becomes too severe. Read this blog to learn more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Hearing Research Foundation
Keck School of Medicine of USC