Noise-induced hearing loss: Glossary Of Hearing Terms




Hearing test performed by a trained health-care professional to measure the amount of someone’s hearing loss. The audiogram shows the number of decibels lost at each frequency tested, and measures hearing at specific speech frequency levels most commonly used during normal conversation (e.g., at 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000 Hz). The audiogram will show a particular pattern when hearing loss is due to hazardous noise exposure and will typically affect both ears at about the same rate.


Measurement unit used for sound, abbreviated to dB.

Decibel, A-Weighted

Workplace noise exposure uses an “A-weighting”, written as dB(A), and measures sound pressure levels (e.g., the loudness of sounds in air heard by the human ear).


Age-related hearing loss caused by the effect of aging on hearing.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Hearing loss that is the result of damage to the inner ear, or cochlea, which is made up of sensory hair cells and nerves. Noise-induced hearing loss happens when a person has sensorineural damage, which causes permanent damage to the sensory hair cells of the cochlea.


A symptom that is usually described as “ringing in the ears”, but the noise experienced can vary from person to person and may be experienced as a ringing, whistling, buzzing, whooshing, or a humming sensation in the ears. While many people can experience some tinnitus irregularly or on a temporary basis, a permanent tinnitus is more constant. Permanent tinnitus is more common in people with noise-induced hearing loss.