If you damage your hearing, it can't be repaired.
That is why we need to be aware of the sounds around us, and use hearing protection when necessary.
Carla Burbidge has this week's Eye on Health.
Our kids turn up the volume on their ipods.
There's plenty of noise surrounding those working in flood recovery, there are loud farm noises, and the list goes on.
Harmful noise is all around us, making noise induced hearing loss, a problem for 15-percent of all Americans.
(Jerrica Maxson, Audiologist, Trinity Health) "As we get older and lose hearing there's nothing we can do about that, but hearing damage, yes we can do something."
Sound waves enter the ear cannel, and vibrate the eardrum, the little bones in the middle ear, amplify the sound vibrations and send them to the cholea in the inner ear.
There are hair cells inside the cholea.
(Jerrica Maxson, Audiologist, Trinity Health) "When there's too much noise it damages the hair cells, once damaged they can't regrow."
There are many signs that your hearing is being jeopardized: when you have to raise your voice to speak to another person, if your ears physically hurt, if your ears ring after exposure to loud noises.
Ear protection is important, and you can even get custom made earplugs to fit your ears and your lifestyle.
There are ear buds for kids that limit the volume output of the music device.
There are plugs for musicians, that block the bad pitches, but let in the good sounds.
There's an earplug that Maxson encourages hunters to use.
(Jerrica Maxson, Audiologist, Trinity Health) "It has a filter, the sound of the gun activates, and but you can still hear the people around you."
It's easy to take your hearing for granted, but if those little hairs in the cochlea are damaged by loud noise, you can't get them back.
Yes there are hearing aids, but Maxson says they are never as good as the real thing.
For Eye on Health, I'm Carla Burbidge.