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What is Temporary Threshold Shift?

What is Temporary Threshold Shift?

A temporary threshold shift by definition is a temporary shift in the auditory threshold of an individual. It can occur suddenly after exposure to a high level of noise, which in most cases could lead to temporary hearing loss. People who experience a temporary threshold shift may also experience temporary tinnitus. 

We’ve all experienced this at the end of a concert where the sounds that enter your ears are subdued or muffled, you feel the fluid build up in your ears and you experience a ringing in your ears as well (tinnitus).

In a nutshell, sound enters the ear and  eventually stimulates the fluid in the inner ear (cochlea). The fluid creates waves over tiny rows of hair cells and each hair cell is tuned to a specific frequency for optimal transmission of the sounds you hear. When loud sounds enter your ears, they push those hair cells that transmit sound over causing a traumatic experience for them which leads to them being bent over, even after there’s no noise, which leads to ringing, fullness and temporary loss of hearing

The recovery time for a temporary threshold shift varies and could last from anywhere between a few hours to a few days - this would usually depend on how long youre exposed to a noise, and the intensity of it, but it could also depend on other factors including a person’s age and sex,prior history of noise exposure and environmental factors such as smoking.

In essence repeated bouts of temporary threshold shift could cause permanent harm to your hearing, so even if your hearing does return after a few hours or days please don’t take it for granted because, in time, this could lead to a permanent threshold shift, where you ability to hear is reduced permanently, which causes a permanent hearing loss.

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