When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of getting old. You probably had older adults in your life trying to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else.
Here is the one thing you should know: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Occur at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already notice hearing loss by age 12. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the past 30 years, hearing loss among teenagers has gone up by 33 %.
What’s the cause of this?
Disabling hearing loss has already set in for 2% of people between the ages of 45 and 55 and 8% of people between 55 and 64.
It’s not an aging problem. What you may consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And you have the ability to significantly minimize its development.
Age-associated hearing loss, clinically known as sensorineural hearing loss, is typically caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for many years, thought to be an unavoidable part of aging. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Leads to Hearing Loss
The first step to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They progress past your eardrum into your inner ear.
In your inner ear are small hair cells which vibrate when sound impacts them. Which hair cells oscillate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain is able to translate this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you might hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too intense, these hair cells oscillate too fast. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually die.
when they’re gone, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But these little hair cells won’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re subjected to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These every day Noises
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. You might not think twice about:
- Running farm equipment
- Lawn mowing
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Turning up the car stereo
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Being a musician
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
You don’t have to quit these activities. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, you will feel older a lot sooner if you fail to recognize your hearing loss because of complications like:
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
For individuals with untreated hearing loss these are much more common.
Ways You Can Avoid Additional Hearing Problems
Understanding how to prevent hearing loss is the initial step.
- In order to figure out how loud things actually are, download a sound meter app.
- Learn when volumes get hazardous. In less than 8 hours, irreversible hearing loss can be caused by volumes above 85dB. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in over 15 minutes. 120 dB and over brings about instantaneous hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Know that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing for a while after going to a concert, you’ve already generated permanent harm to your hearing. The more often it occurs, the worse it will become.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow work hearing protection rules.
- If you have to be exposed to loud noises, restrict your exposure time.
- Steer clear of standing near loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB upper limit. Most people would need to listen nearly non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
- Even at lower volumes, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing might still be in danger. To be safe, never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app can help but when it comes to headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not using hearing aids when you require them results in brain atrophy. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you let them go, it will be tough to get them back.
Have a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or just putting things off? Stop it. You have to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you will take measures to decrease further harm.
Speak with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. It could be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Compare The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of individuals who do recognize their hearing loss just decide to deal with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they wear hearing aids. Or they think they cost too much.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous relationship and health complications, it’s easy to see that the pros well surpass the cons.
Consult a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing test. And you don’t need to worry that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.