Extensive exposure to high levels of noise is another common cause of hearing loss. If you are exposed to loud noise for a long period of time, the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear become damaged. As the number of living hair cells within the ear fall, you lose the ability to hear. Some people have a higher risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss at work such as military personnel, musicians, listening to loud music at live concerts and through headphones and construction and factory workers.
Baby boomers – those who born between 1946 and 1964, are most likely candidates for noise-induced hearing loss; much of this hearing damage may result from exposure to continuous loud noise over an extended period of time. Loud music, personal stereo systems, factory noise, home power tools, lawn mowers and the roar of construction sites can all increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss and hearing damage.
Currently there are more people aged 45 to 64 with a hearing loss than those older than 65. Over the years before Occupational Health & Safety became such an important issue in the workplace, millions of Australians went to work in noisy factories, building sites and plants without being provided with adequate hearing protection to prevent hearing damage.
All types of plant and machinery – as well as the high volume of noise in vehicles – can contribute towards hearing loss. Even exposure to very high levels of intermittent noise over relatively short periods can cause hearing damage. For example, using heavy duty power or impact tools.