When you were younger, you most likely thought of hearing loss as a result of getting old. You likely had older adults in your life struggling to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
But in the same way as 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 the aging process and much more to do with something else.
You need to understand this one thing: It doesn’t make you 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 recognize, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the cause of this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already have disabling hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% prevent what is generally considered “age related hearing loss”. And you have the power to dramatically decrease its advancement.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently a result of noise.
Hearing loss was, for decades, considered to be an inescapable part of aging. But these days, science understands more about how to safeguard your hearing and even repair it.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Learning how noise causes hearing loss is step one in protecting hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. Your ear canal receives these waves. They reach your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. Which hair cells oscillate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain then converts this code into sound.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too intense, these hair cells move too rapidly. The sound shakes them to death.
When these hairs are gone you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible, Here’s Why
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones will heal. But these tiny hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re subjected to loud sounds, the more little hair cells die.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are shocked to learn that daily activities can result in hearing loss. These things may seem totally harmless:
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Playing in a band
- attending a concert/play/movies
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Mowing the lawn
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Using farm equipment
You don’t have to give up these activities. Luckily, you can minimize noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. Actually, you will feel older a lot sooner if you fail to recognize your hearing loss because of complications like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
- Social Isolation
These are all significantly more common in people with untreated hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Further Hearing Damage
Get started by knowing how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can find out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Determine when volumes become dangerous. Above 85 dB (decibels) can lead to irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, occurs in about 15 minutes. Immediate hearing loss happens at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already triggered irreversible hearing damage each time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after a concert. The more often it happens, the worse it will become.
- When it’s necessary, use earmuffs and/or earplugs
- Implement work hearing protection safeguards.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a bad idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen nearly continuously all day to trigger permanent damage.
- Even at lower volumes, 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 over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. Not using hearing aids when you require them results in brain atrophy. It works the same way as your muscles. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Get a Hearing Examination
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further harm by acknowledging your circumstance.
Consult Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. It might be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss just choose to deal with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they wear hearing aids. Or they are afraid that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they recognize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous relationship and health challenges, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Consult a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing exam. And you don’t have to worry that you look old if you wind up needing hearing aids. Present day hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.