When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of getting old. You probably had older adults in your life trying to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you learn more about hearing loss, you find it has less to do with getting old and much more to do with something else.
Here is the one thing you should understand: It doesn’t mean that you’re old just because you admit you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
By the age of 12, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss among teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the cause of this?
Debilitating hearing loss has already set in for 2% of individuals between the ages of 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% prevent what is typically thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And limiting its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For decades hearing loss was assumed to be inescapable as you get older. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They reach your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain is able to convert this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
But these hairs can oscillate with too much intensity when the inner ear receives sound that is too loud. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually fail.
When these hairs die you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
Wounds like cuts or broken bones will heal. But these little hair cells don’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re subjected to loud sounds, the more tiny hair cells fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Many people are surprised to discover that every day activities can lead to hearing loss. These things might seem perfectly harmless:
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Using farm equipment
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Playing in a band
- Lawn mowing
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. The fact is, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
These are all considerably more common in people with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Avoid Further Hearing Damage
Learning how to avoid hearing loss is the first step.
- So that you can find out how loud things really are, download a sound meter app.
- Know about dangerous levels. In less than 8 hours, irreversible damage can be the result of volumes over 85dB. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, happens in about 15 minutes. 120 dB and above will cause instantaneous hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Know that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing temporarily after a concert, you’ve already induced lasting harm to your hearing. The more often it happens, the worse it will become.
- When it’s needed, wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- When it comes to hearing protection, adhere to any safeguards that pertain to your circumstance.
- If you have to be exposed to loud noises, regulate your exposure time.
- Steer clear of standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They never go over 90 dB. Most people would have to listen nearly continuously all day to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app will help but when it comes to headphones, no louder than 50% is best policy.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or simply putting things off? Stop it. Be active about reducing further damage by recognizing your situation.
Consult Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss has no “natural cure”. If hearing loss is severe, it might be time to get a hearing aid.
Compare The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Lots of individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they choose to “tough it out”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they have hearing aids. Or they think that they cost too much.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the adverse effect on relationships and health will cost more over time.
Schedule a hearing exam with a hearing specialist. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Modern hearing aids are stylish and advanced pieces of modern technology.