When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of getting old. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with the aging process and much more to do with something else.
This is the one thing you should know: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
By 12 years old, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has gone up by 33 %.
What’s the reason for 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.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% avoid what is normally considered “age related hearing loss”. And you have the ability to dramatically reduce its advancement.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For decades hearing loss was believed to be inescapable as you age. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Understanding how noise causes hearing loss is step one in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They move down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Inside your inner ear are little hair cells which vibrate when sound hits them. What hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain then converts this code into sound.
But these hairs can move with too much intensity when the inner ear receives sound that is too loud. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually die.
when they’re gone, you can’t hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Irreversible, Here’s Why
If you cut yourself, the cut heals. But these little hair cells won’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more little hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are surprised to find out that common activities can result in hearing loss. These things probably seem perfectly harmless:
- Running farm equipment
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Playing in a band
- Mowing the lawn
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Going to a concert/play/movies
You don’t have to give up these activities. Luckily, you can lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
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 acknowledge your hearing loss due to complications like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
For individuals with neglected hearing loss these are substantially more common.
Stop Further Hearing Damage
Recognizing how to avoid hearing loss is the first step.
- In order to find out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn when volumes become dangerous. Above 85 dB (decibels) can result in permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. Irreversible hearing loss, at 110 dB, happens in over 15 minutes. Instant hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing for a while after going to a concert, you’ve already caused lasting damage to your hearing. The more often it happens, the worse it will become.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- When it comes to hearing protection, implement any guidelines that apply to your circumstance.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- 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 have a 90 dB limit. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of people.
- Even at lower levels, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing might still be in peril. To be safe, never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers will vary and a volume meter app can help but regarding headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Use your hearing aid. Not using hearing aids when you require them leads to brain atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Don’t do it. You have to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you can take measures to minimize further damage.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Loss Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. It could be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Do a Cost to Benefit Comparison of Investing in Hearing Aids
Many people are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they choose to “just deal with”. They think hearing aids make them look old. Or they are worried that they won’t be able to afford them.
It’s easy to see, however, that when the harmful effect on health and relationships will cost more over time.
Speak with a hearing care specialist right away about having a hearing test. And you don’t have to be concerned that you appear old if you wind up needing hearing aids. Hearing aids at present are much sleeker and more advanced than you may think!