Noise causes damage to the inner ear, and the technical term for it is sensorineural hearing loss. Common complaints for a person with noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) include having the television and radio too loud for the rest of the family.
Wives, partners, family members and friends often complain that military personnel affected by hearing loss do not respond to their calls. Initially this might be thought to be 'selective' hearing, but after a while it might dawn that the hearing loss is genuine.
The problems will include not hearing properly in a group, particularly when out and there is background noise, for instance from other people talking and from background music. Not being able to hear properly can ruin the enjoyment of a film in the cinema, or listening to music. Sometimes it can be more difficult to hear children speak because their voices are more high pitched than adults.
In addition to not being able to hear as well, the other main problem that a person with noise induced hearing loss may suffer with is tinnitus. This is the sensation of hearing a noise or noises such as ringing, buzzing or hissing. Tinnitus can have little effect on some people, yet for others it may be devastating. Very worst cases suffer from psychiatric illness and even consider suicide.
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