When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of aging. You probably had older adults in your life trying to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
In your youth, getting old seems so far away but as time goes by you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about a lot more than aging.
You need to understand this one thing: It doesn’t make you old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
By the age of 12, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Clearly, your not “old” when you’re 12. Teenage hearing loss has risen 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
It isn’t an aging problem. You can 100% prevent what is commonly considered “age related hearing loss”. And reducing its development is well within your power.
Age-related hearing loss, scientifically known as sensorineural hearing loss, is usually caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for years, thought to be an inevitable part of aging. But these days, science knows 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 the first step in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain can convert this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.
But these hairs can oscillate with too much force when the inner ear gets sound that is too intense. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually die.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible, Here’s Why
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But these little hair cells don’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re subjected to loud sounds, the more little hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. These things may seem perfectly harmless:
- Using farm equipment
- Lawn mowing
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Playing in a band
You don’t have to quit these activities. Fortunately, you can take protective steps to limit noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. The truth is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
These are all significantly more common in people with neglected hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Injury
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- Download a sound meter app on your mobile device. Determine how loud things actually are.
- Know about harmful levels. Above 85 dB (decibels) can lead to permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to trigger lasting hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is between 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing for a while after going to a concert, you’ve already induced permanent harm to your hearing. It will become more obvious over time.
- When it’s required, use earmuffs and/or earplugs
- When dealing with hearing protection, implement any rules that apply to your situation.
- If you have to be exposed to loud noises, restrict the exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a bad idea in any situation.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have built in volume control. They have a 90 dB limit. Most people would have to listen nearly non-stop all day to trigger irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you let them go, it will be hard to get them back.
Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or just procrastinating? Don’t do it. Be active about reducing further damage by recognizing your situation.
Consult Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There are no “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 Getting Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Many people are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they decide to “just deal with”. They don’t want people to think they look old because they wear hearing aids. Or they assume they cost too much.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the adverse effect on relationships and health will cost more over time.
Talk to a hearing care specialist today about having a hearing test. And you don’t have to be concerned that you appear old if you end up needing hearing aids. Hearing aids at present are much sleeker and more advanced than you may believe!