Acoustic trauma is injury to the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear. It is 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 most often 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 also learn coping skills, such as lip reading.
Hearing loss may be permanent in the affected ear. Wearing ear protection when around sources of loud sounds 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 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.
O’Handley JG, Tobin EJ, Shah AR. Otorhinolaryngology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 19.
Updated by: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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