Early in life, you likely began to associate hearing loss with getting old. You probably had older people around you trying to understand words or using hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, when you learn more regarding hearing loss, you find that it has much less to do with old age and far more to do with something else.
Here is the most important thing to know: Admitting that you have hearing loss will not make you old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Issue”
Even in pre-teens, audiologists can already detect some amount of hearing loss in 13% of instances. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% in the past 3 decades.
What’s at work here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% currently suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
It’s not an aging issue. It’s 100% possible to prevent, despite the fact that the majority of people may think of it as an aging problem. Significantly decreasing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical terminology for age-related hearing loss, is frequently brought on by loud noise.
For ages hearing loss was believed to be inescapable as you age. But today, scientists are more knowledgeable concerning exactly how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
The initial step to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “innocent” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves travel into your ear canal. They travel downward through your eardrum and into your inner ear.
Here, tiny little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. A neurological code is made up from how fast and how frequently these tiny hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of running water, someone yelling for assistance, a jet plane, or any other sound which may be near you.
The problem is at the time the inner ear is exposed to noises that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. They die because the vibrations are too strong for them to handle.
When these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
If you cut yourself, the wound will heal. These little cells do not heal. When they die, they are lost forever. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more of these tiny cells you lose.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
Hearing Damage can be Caused by Everyday Sounds
Many people are shocked to learn that everyday activities may be the cause of hearing loss. You might not think twice about:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo up too loud
- Mowing the lawn
- Using farm equipment
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Working in a manufacturing plant or other loud profession
- Playing music in a band
These activities don’t need to be abandoned. It is possible to minimize noise associated hearing damage by taking pro-active strategies.
Don’t Permit Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, acknowledging it does not have to make you feel older. As a matter of fact, failing to admit it can doom you to faster advancement and difficulties that will definitely cause you to you feel much older in just a few years such as:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
For people with neglected hearing loss, these are significantly more likely.
Stop Continued Hearing Damage
The first thing you have to do is learn how to to counter hearing loss.
- Sound meter apps are readily available for your phone which can show you how loud things actually are.
- Hazardous volumes should be avoided without the correct ear protection. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing loss in only 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher results in instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that you have already caused hearing damage if you have had a hard time hearing, or if your ears were ringing, after a concert. It will become more pronounced over time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Observe workplace hearing safety regulations.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing near to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when listening at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones which come with built-in volume control. These don’t go higher 90 decibels. You would need to listen practically non-stop all the time to do permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and various medications tend to make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much harder to start walking again.
Make a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or putting off on it? Stop it. You need to be aware so you can be proactive to minimize further damage.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Answers
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hearing Aids
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they make the decision to “tough it out.” They think hearing aids make them feel old. Or maybe they believe that they are too expensive.
However when they understand that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous health and relationship difficulties, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are advisable, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more advanced than you may think!