Noise is a form of energy. It includes all audible sounds from any source. It is transmitted as a fluctuating pressure wave which may be described in terms of the frequency (pitch) and the amplitude (loudness). The ear does not “hear” all frequencies as being equally loud.

The Ear and Hearing Loss

Sound waves are directed along the ear canal to the ear drum. The vibrations are transmitted by the ossicles (small bones known as the hammer, stirrup and the anvil) to fluid contained in the cochlea. Here, many millions of small “hairs” stimulate nerves sending signals to the brain through the auditory nerve. Different hairs respond to different frequencies.

Over stimulation by high noise levels may result in tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or a short term reduction in hearing sensitivity. This is known as Temporary Threshold Shift.

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