BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuAcoustic traumaInjury - inner ear; Trauma - inner ear; Ear injuryAcoustic trauma is injury to the hearing mechanisms in the inner ear. It is due to very loud noise. Causes Acoustic trauma is a common cause of sensory hearing loss. Damage to the hearing mechanisms within the inner ear may be caused by:Hearing lossHearing loss is being partly or totally unable to hear sound in one or both ears.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Explosion near the ear Firing a gun near the ear Long-term exposure to loud noises (such as loud music or machinery) Any very loud noise near the ear Symptoms Symptoms include:Partial hearing loss that most often involves exposure to high-pitched sounds. The hearing loss may slowly get worse. Noises, ringing in the ear (tinnitus).TinnitusTinnitus is the medical term for "hearing" noises in your ears. It occurs when there is no outside source of the sounds. Tinnitus is often called "r...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests The health care provider will most often suspect acoustic trauma if hearing loss occurs after noise exposure. A physical exam will determine if the eardrum is damaged. Audiometry may determine how much hearing has been lost.AudiometryAn audiometry exam tests your ability to hear sounds. Sounds vary, based on their loudness (intensity) and the speed of sound wave vibrations (tone)...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment The hearing loss may not be treatable. The goal of treatment is to protect the ear from further damage. Eardrum repair may be needed.Eardrum repairEardrum repair refers to one or more surgical procedures that are done to correct a tear or other damage to the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Ossiculo...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A hearing aid may help you communicate. You can also learn coping skills, such as lip reading.In some cases, your doctor may prescribe steroid medicine to help bring back some of the hearing. Outlook (Prognosis) 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. Possible Complications Progressive hearing loss is the main complication of acoustic trauma.Tinnitus (ear ringing) can also occur. When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if: You have symptoms of acoustic trauma Hearing loss occurs or gets worse Prevention Take the following steps to help prevent hearing loss:Wear protective ear plugs or earmuffs to prevent hearing damage from loud equipment. Be aware of risks to your hearing from activities such as shooting guns, using chain saws, or driving motorcycles and snowmobiles. DO NOT listen to loud music for long periods of time.Open ReferencesReferencesArts HA, Adams ME. Sensorineural hearing loss in adults. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 152.Crock C, de Alwis N. Ear, nose and throat emergencies. In: Cameron P, Little M, Mitra B, Deasy C, eds. Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 18.1.Le Prell CG. Noise-induced hearing loss. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 154.AllVideoImagesTogSound wave transmission - illustration When sounds waves reach the ear, they are translated into nerve impulses. These impulses then travel to the brain where they are interpreted by the brain as sound. The hearing mechanisms within the inner ear, can be easily damaged by excessively loud noise causing sensory hearing loss.Sound wave transmissionillustrationSound wave transmission - illustration When sounds waves reach the ear, they are translated into nerve impulses. These impulses then travel to the brain where they are interpreted by the brain as sound. The hearing mechanisms within the inner ear, can be easily damaged by excessively loud noise causing sensory hearing loss.Sound wave transmissionillustrationRelated Information Hearing loss(Symptoms) Review Date: 4/13/2020 Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.