Research Finds that Loud Noises Can Lead to Fluid Buildup in the Ear Posted on September 9, 2022 by Advanced ENT & Allergy It’s well known that exposure to loud noises is associated with hearing loss, but the mechanism behind this phenomenon was not well understood until recently. A study published in November 2021 uncovered that exposure to loud sounds can lead to fluid buildup in the ear. We review more about this below. What the Study Shows The study is called “Endolymphatic Hydrops Is a Marker of Synaptopathy Following Traumatic Noise Exposure.” It appears in the journal Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. The research team is from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. The team confirmed that loud sounds are associated with a loss of auditory cells in the inner ear and that exposure causes a condition known as endolymphatic hydrops or fluid buildup in the ear. They also found that treating fluid buildup with a saline solution actually lessens nerve damage. Implications of This Study Sometimes, this type of hearing loss is known as “hidden hearing loss,” since conventional hearing tests can’t always detect this form of damage. However, scanning for fluid buildup can help experts diagnose impending nerve damage and prevent it. Lead study author John Oghalai, M.D., explains, “First, if human ears exposed to loud noise, such as a siren or airbag deployment, can be scanned for a level of fluid buildup – and this technology is already being tested out – medical professionals may have a way of diagnosing impending nerve damage. Secondly, if the scan discovered fluid buildup, people could be treated with hypertonic saline and possibly save their hearing.” This study also has important implications regarding the research and treatment of Meniere’s disease, which is a condition that causes episodes of hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and vertigo (spinning sensation) thought to be caused by fluid buildup in the ear. How You Can Protect Yourself The World Health Organization reports that over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices, including listening to music through headphones at high volume and attending loud events at Prudential Center without adequate hearing protection. To protect yourself, be sure to practice safe listening by following the 60/60 rule: listen at no more than 60% of your device’s volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. You should also wear hearing protection from Advanced ENT & Allergy whenever you know you will be exposed to loud noises. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Advanced ENT & Allergy today. Can Car Wrecks Lead to Hearing Loss?Learn About the History of Audiology Awareness MonthWhat Type of Hearing Protection Will Work Best for Me?