When you were younger, you most likely considered hearing loss a result of getting old. You likely had older adults around you trying to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
When you’re young, getting old seems so far away but as time goes by you start to recognize that hearing loss is about much more than aging.
You need to realize this one thing: It doesn’t mean that you’re old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by age 12. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the past 30 years, hearing loss among teenagers has risen by 33 %.
What’s the cause of this?
Debilitating 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 issue. You can 100% prevent what is normally thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And you have the ability to significantly minimize its advancement.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for years, assumed to be an inescapable part of aging. But these days, science understands more about how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They reach your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells vibrate, 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 may hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too rapidly. The sound vibrates them to death.
When these hairs are gone you can no longer hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But when you damage these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they never grow back. Over time, as you subject your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. These things probably seem perfectly harmless:
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Cranking up the car stereo
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Using farm equipment
- Mowing the lawn
- Playing in a band
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
You don’t have to quit these things. Luckily, you can decrease 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 have to make you feel old. Actually, you will feel older much sooner if you fail to recognize your hearing loss because of complications like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
These are all considerably more common in those with untreated hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Further Hearing Problems
Learning how to avoid hearing loss is the initial step.
- In order to figure out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Find out when volumes get dangerous. Over 85 dB (decibels) can lead to permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to trigger lasting hearing loss. Instant hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already triggered irreversible hearing damage every time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after a concert. It will become more obvious over time.
- When it’s needed, wear earmuffs and/or earplugs
- Respect work hearing protection rules.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud noises.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They never go over 90 dB. Most people would need to listen almost continuously all day to cause permanent damage.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them leads to brain atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Make an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. You have to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you can take measures to lessen further damage.
Speak with Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Loss Solutions
There aren’t any “natural cures” for hearing loss. It might be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Compare The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Lots of individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply choose to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they are old because they have hearing aids. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous relationship and health challenges, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old”. Hearing aids today are significantly sleeker and more advanced than you may think!