As you got older, you probably began to associate hearing loss with getting old. You likely had older adults around you struggling to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
In your youth, getting old seems so distant but as time goes by you begin to realize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
Here is the one thing you should understand: It doesn’t make you old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Happen at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by age 12. Needless to say, your not “old” when you’re 12. Teen hearing loss has gone up 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s happening here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from debilitating hearing loss.
It isn’t an aging problem. What you probably consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And limiting its progression is well within your power.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For generations hearing loss was believed to be inevitable as you get older. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
The first step to safeguarding your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is composed of. These waves go into your ear canal. They reach your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. The sound vibrates them to death.
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 impair these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot grow back. Over time, as you subject your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
As they do, hearing loss progresses.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are surprised to discover that every day activities can result in hearing loss. You might not think twice about:
- Running farm equipment
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Playing in a band
- Cranking up the car stereo
- Lawn mowing
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Make Sure 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. In fact, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster progression and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
These are all substantially more common in individuals with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Further Hearing Problems
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Be familiar with hazardous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) can lead to permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. Instant hearing loss happens at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Realize 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 pronounced over time.
- When it’s necessary, wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- When it comes to hearing protection, follow any safeguards that pertain to your circumstance.
- If you need to be exposed to loud noises, regulate your exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They never go over 90 dB. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most people.
- Even at lower levels, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing could still be in peril. To be safe, do not listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you require them leads to brain atrophy. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you stop making use of them, it will be difficult to begin again.
Make an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or simply procrastinating? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further harm by acknowledging your circumstance.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
Hearing impairment has no “natural cure”. It might be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Lots of people who do recognize their hearing loss simply choose to cope with it. They think hearing aids make them seem old. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they realize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous relationship and health complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outnumber the cons.
Schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional. And you don’t have to worry that you look old if you end up needing hearing aids. Hearing aids at present are much sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!