What is Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)?

Exposure to noise may not appear to be a significant threat, but it can have a significant impact on your hearing. There are permanent and temporary forms of hearing loss that are caused by exposure to noise, which may occur in one or both ears.

About 15% of American adults (aged 20-69) have noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Noise induced hearing loss can be temporary, or it can be permanent.

Ask yourself this: Have you ever left a loud venue (like a music concert) and felt like you were struggling to hear? Perhaps you had a persistent ringing (tinnitus) in your ears. If you answered “yes,” then you’ve likely experienced temporary hearing loss due to noise.

How Can Noise Damage Your Hearing?

For us to hear, our ears essentially transform sound waves in the air into electrical signals that are carried by the auditory nerve for interpretation in the brain. Tiny hair cells that sit on top of the ear’s basilar membrane are a major player in this process, and most cases of NIHL are due to damage to these hair cells (which can’t grow back).

Sometimes noise can cause something called a temporary threshold shift (TTS) –a reversible type of hearing loss commonly caused by sounds like gunshots and firecrackers or as a result of tinnitus.

What is Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)?

Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) is a temporary hearing loss or tinnitus. As the name suggests, it is a temporary situation.

What is actually happening to your ears is a temporary shift in your auditory threshold. When exposed to extreme bouts of loud noise, the tiny hair cells in your ear can be pushed over. Even after the sound disappears, these hairs can take some time to recover to their normal position. As a result, you feel as though your hearing is muffled and in some cases experience tinnitus.

Although TTS is a temporary condition, repeatedly experiencing TTS is a sign that you are exposing yourself to dangerous noise regularly. Regular exposure to dangerous noise can result in Permanent Threshold Shift (PTS), which can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Temporary Threshold Shift – The Basics

Temporary threshold shift is caused by exposure to extreme levels of noise. This could be over a short period, like if you’ve stood next to an explosion. It could also take some time, like a music concert.

Symptoms of TTS most commonly include:

  • Muffled hearing
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Tinnitus

If you’re experiencing symptoms of temporary threshold shift, you need to give your ears time to recover. Find a quiet place to allow your ears time to readjust, and avoid exposure to loud noise.

Temporary threshold shift may resolve itself within a matter of hours. In some cases, it may take a few days. If after a few days you’re still experiencing symptoms, we recommend speaking to your hearing healthcare specialist.

Trust the Experts at Hearing Services of Delaware

Do you have any more questions? Our hearing care specialists will be happy to look over your hearing aids. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of certified hearing care professionals at Hearing Services of Delaware.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness and to determine if the consumer may benefit from using hearing aids, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Assessment conclusion is not a medical diagnosis and further testing may be required to diagnose hearing loss. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals.