According to a 2009 study into the effects of hearing loss, often caused by exposure to excessive noise levels, and how the body copes with a reduced sensory function, the brains of adult animals with a hearing deficiency appeared to re-route the sense of touch into the brain area that processes hearing.
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The risks of exposure to excessive noise levels – most associated with sustaining hearing damage in the workplace – are well known, if not necessarily acted upon as diligently as health and safety regulations would recommend.
Strange as it may seem, too often, a victim of hearing damage may actually be the last person to know! This could likely be the case when hearing loss occurs very gradually over a lengthy period of time when working in environments with higher than average noise levels.
The instinctive response by those with normal hearing is to consider an individual with a hearing loss problem to be congenitally deaf. Alternatively, they could be seen as suffering a lifelong slight deafness. Either way, a natural disability is the obvious conclusion.
According to recent Spanish research, the presence of chemical contaminants in the workplace can interact with the surrounding noise and actually modify how work-related or industrial deafness can be experienced as markedly, more or less noticeable.