When you were younger, you probably thought of hearing loss as a consequence of aging. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you find it has less to do with getting old and much more to do with something else.
You need to understand this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
By 12 years old, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. Teen hearing loss has risen 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already have debilitating hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% avoid what is generally thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And you have the power to significantly minimize its progression.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for decades, considered to be an inevitable part of aging. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
Step one to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “innocuous” as noise causes hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is made of. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain can convert this code into words, running water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually die.
When these hairs die you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
Wounds like cuts or broken bones will heal. But when you damage these tiny hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more little hair cells fail.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These every day Noises
Many people are surprised to learn that daily activities can lead to hearing loss. These things probably seem totally harmless:
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Running farm equipment
- Lawn mowing
- Playing in a band
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can lessen 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 already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, you will feel older much sooner if you fail to acknowledge your hearing loss because of complications like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
For people with untreated hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Reduce Further Hearing Damage
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- Download a sound meter app on your mobile device. Determine how loud things actually are.
- Learn about harmful volumes. In under 8 hours, irreversible damage can be the result of volumes over 85dB. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, occurs in about 15 minutes. 120 dB and over brings about immediate hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already caused permanent hearing damage each time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after a concert. It will become more obvious as time passes.
- When it’s needed, wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- When dealing with hearing protection, follow any safeguards that pertain to your circumstance.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud noises.
- Refrain from standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of individuals.
- Even at lower volumes, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing may still be in peril. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you need it. It works the same way as your muscles. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you putting things off or in denial? Stop it. Be proactive about reducing further damage by recognizing your circumstance.
Speak with Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Solutions
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. If hearing loss is extreme, it may be time to get a hearing aid.
Compare The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Many individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply choose to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they have hearing aids. Or they think they cost too much.
But when they recognize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause many health and relationship challenges, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Present day hearing aids are stylish and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.