• Can Long Exposure to Radiation Cause Hearing Loss?

    September 7, 2021

    While getting radiation is scary enough in itself, learning that it can be linked to hearing loss can be devastating. Radiation specifically to the brain, throat, or ear area can lead to hearing loss in some patients. As with most medical conditions, some patients will be more at risk for developing hearing loss than others.

    Why Does Radiation Cause Hearing Loss?

    When radiation is applied to the head area, it can result in inflammation in the outer ear. This fluid buildup will be felt in the inner ear, and stiffness may be felt near the eardrum or middle ear bones. This creates a condition known as conductive hearing loss, where the sound waves simply can’t get through to the inner ear. This condition is temporary, and hearing will return to normal once the inflammation goes down.

    Apart from temporary hearing loss, radiation can also cause permanent or sensorineural hearing loss. This happens when the radiation damages the sensory hair cells located in the inner ear. This can happen to just one or both ears, depending on where the radiation treatment is applied.

    Symptoms of Hearing Loss

    Depending on the type of hearing loss you experience, it may come on suddenly or gradually over time. Understanding the key symptoms associated with hearing loss can allow you to identify the problem early on so that you can speak with one of our hearing care professionals about your options. The most common symptoms of hearing loss include:

    • Tinnitus
    • Difficulty hearing when background noise is present
    • Not paying attention to sounds around you

    Hearing loss can have a significant impact on your ability to communicate in the world around you. For this reason, it’s vital that you seek help from a licensed audiologist as soon as you believe that you’re experiencing trouble with your hearing.

    How to Protect Yourself Against Hearing Loss

    While it’s always a good idea to wear hearing protection to keep your ears safe from loud noises, these plugs won’t help with radiation. However, speaking with your physician about potential changes in your medications can help to further reduce your risk of experiencing hearing loss as a side effect. When you notice an issue with inflammation, it’s best to seek assistance from an experienced hearing care specialist to evaluate the problem.

    Does Nuclear Radiation Occupational Exposure for About 10 Years Cause Significant Hearing Loss?

    Apart from receiving medical radiation to treat cancer, some workers may be exposed to nuclear radiation. This occupational exposure over a long period can result in significant hearing loss. However, the effect depends on the level of radiation exposure the workers underwent over their 10-year term.

    Contact Us Today

    If you’re experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss, it’s vital that you contact us right away. Let our knowledgeable hearing care specialists evaluate your hearing loss and provide you with hearing aids to enhance your hearing.

     

    Resources:

    https://curesearch.org/Hearing-Problems#:~:text=Radiation%20can%20also%20damage%20the,the%20area%20of%20radiation%20treatment

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15276676/

     

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