Acoustic trauma injuries can be caused immediately from a single exposure to a peak noise level that exceeds 140dB(C)
Acoustic trauma is the immediate and permanent hearing loss that can result from exposure to peak noise measured in the dB(C) scale. It is caused by impulse or explosive noises, such as explosive power tools; gun shots and fireworks (at close range).
Acoustic trauma injuries are very often associated with intense pain and in some cases the sound pressure can rupture the eardrum.
Acoustic trauma and Acoustic shock are not the same thing
Acoustic trauma is the immediate and permanent hearing loss that can result from exposure to peak impulse or explosive noise that exceeds the exposure standard for noise, which is140dB(C). It is very often associated with intense pain and, in some cases, the sound pressure can rupture the eardrum.
Acoustic shock incidents are sudden, unexpected loud noises, meaning acoustic shock injuries are not caused by hazardous noise, but by a sudden rise in the noise levels.
Acoustic shock symptoms
The effect on individuals can vary greatly for the same increase in sound level.
Immediate symptoms can include:
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- burning sensations or sharp pain around or in the ear
- numbness, tingling or soreness down the side of face, neck or shoulder
- nausea or vomiting
- tinnitus and other head noises, such as eardrum fluttering.
Later symptoms can include:
- feeling off-balance
- hypersensitivity to noise, i.e. a sensitivity to previously tolerated sounds such as loud voices, television and radio