Can Long Exposure to Radiation Cause Hearing Loss?

  1. Exposure to Radiation

Prolonged radiation to the ear or brain can cause hearing loss. If you have ever been exposed to radiation for over ten years, the risk of developing hearing problems is high. It may damage your cochlea or acoustic nerve, causing sensorineural hearing loss. It can as well damage your sensory hair cells, leading to hearing loss. Depending on the extent of exposure and exposed area, they may damage one or both ears.

Symptoms of hearing loss include ringing sounds in the ear, difficulty hearing background noises, trouble hearing consonants, frequently asking people to speak loudly, and difficulties following conversation without a hearing aid. If you start experiencing some of these symptoms, it would be advisable that you see a physician or hearing specialist before the condition worsens.

How Can I Protect Myself From Radiation Exposure?

You can protect yourself from prolonged radiation by reducing the time of exposure. Reducing the time ensures that the dose is not too high to affect your ears adversely. Increasing the distance between you and the source of radiation minimizes the exposure rate. There is an inverse relationship between the distance and the exposure levels. You can also use shielding materials like lead, protective drapes, and portable shields to block radiation from reaching you. When using portable x-ray devices, you should follow vendor instructions to be aware of safety precautions.

If you have experienced hearing loss resulting from prolonged radiation for many years, it would be advisable to seek medical attention from your doctor. They will perform a physical exam to diagnose the causes of your hearing loss to inform medical treatment that suits your condition. They can also use screening tests, app-based hearing tests, tuning fork tests, or audiometer tests. Once the causes are established, they can initiate treatment which may involve removing the wax blockage, surgical procedures, fitting hearing aids, and cochlear implants.

Nuclear occupational radiation exposure for about ten years may have significant hearing loss manifested in the following ways:

Conductive and Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Several years of nuclear radiation exposure is long enough to pose a high risk of significant hearing loss. If you have been exposed for this long, you may be at risk of developing Sensorineural hearing loss. It can cause a progressive hearing problem and eventually damage your auditory nerve or inner ear. It can occur in conjunction with Conductive hearing, a condition we refer to as mixed hearing loss.

Prolonged Radiation Can Cause Tinnitus

Another condition closely associated with prolonged exposure to radiation is tinnitus. Several years of nuclear radiation exposure is likely to cause tinnitus, a condition where you experience ringing sounds in your ears. Whereas underlying conditions like an age-related hearing loss may be associated with it, the exposure may as well put you at risk of getting the disease.

Damaged Cochlea and Acoustic Nerves

Nuclear radiation exposure may damage your acoustic nerve, thus interfering with your hearing ability, balance, and head position. When these nerves are damaged, you may as well experience sensorineural hearing loss.

At Beltone Dallas Fort Worth, we pride ourselves as one of the top dispensaries in the region, with specialists in hearing loss. We are committed to providing comprehensive health care. Call us today for more information.