You know to protect your ears with hearing protection. You know that once any degree of hearing loss is gone, it’s gone forever.

As it turns out, that might not be true.

A new study from Stanford Medical School found that noise-induced hearing loss caused by loud blasts could be reversible if treated immediately. The study, performed on mice, found that loud blasts did not shred the cochlea, as previously thought. Instead, they damage the hair and nerve cells that send sound signals to the brain.

Though trials have not yet begun on humans, that kind of damage can likely reversed with medication.
So, while this doesn’t mean you should go hang out next to construction sites, fireworks displays or other areas where sounds can exceed 80 decibels, it does mean there could be hope for people who are regularly in contact with sudden blasts, like military personnel. They may encounter IEDs which can produce noises up to 170 decibels. In fact, 60 percent of service men and women wounded in action also suffer from eardrum injuries, tinnitus, or hearing loss.

Until the findings are used to treat humans, you should continue to wear hearing protection and stay away from sources of noise over 80 decibels. If you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, come into Hearing and Balance Center of West Tennessee for a hearing test.