Definition of permanent threshold shift
A permanent threshold shift is a permanent shift in the auditory threshold. It may occur suddenly or develop gradually over time. A permanent threshold shift results in permanent hearing loss.
Causes of permanent threshold shift
A permanent threshold shift can be caused by exposure to noise. Another common cause is age. We all lose our hearing as we age and hearing loss is a natural consequence of getting older. A permanent threshold shift may also occur as a result of disease, infection or drugs. It may be inherited or be a result of physical damage to the ears or to the head.
Treatment of permanent threshold shift
If you experience a permanent threshold shift, you should contact your family/doctor or an ENT to get an examination of your ears and your hearing. It is highly recommended having a hearing test taken to measure the level of the threshold shift and to see if you may need hearing aids. The results of a hearing test can be seen on an audiogram.
If you have a permanent threshold shift at a certain level, it is normally best treated with hearing aids.
Sudden hearing loss
A sudden permanent change in the auditory threshold is called a sudden hearing loss. If you experience a sudden hearing loss, you should contact your family doctor/GP as soon as possible.
Temporary threshold shift
The opposite of a permanent threshold shift is a temporary threshold shift. A temporary threshold shift is when the ability to hear is reduced temporarily, which causes a temporary hearing loss. The hearing loss disappears within hours or couple of days.