When you were younger, you most likely thought of hearing loss as a result of aging. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
In your youth, getting old seems so distant but as time passes you begin to realize that hearing loss is about much more than aging.
You need to realize this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
By the age of 12, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, you aren’t “old” when you’re 12. Teenage hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s the cause of this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. What you may think of as age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And reducing its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most prevalent cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for decades, assumed to be an inescapable part of aging. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
Learning how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Waves are what sound is composed of. These waves travel into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations will then encode a neurological signal. Your brain is able to translate this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you might hear.
But these hairs can oscillate with too much intensity when the inner ear receives sound that is too loud. The sound shakes them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Irreversible, Here’s Why
If you cut yourself, the wound heals. But when you damage these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot grow back. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud sounds, more and more of these hairs perish.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Many people are surprised to learn that daily activities can result in hearing loss. These things probably seem perfectly harmless:
- Turning up the car stereo
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Being a musician
- Running farm equipment
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Lawn mowing
You can keep doing these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, acknowledging it doesn’t have to make you feel old. The fact is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in only a few years like:
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
These are all significantly more common in people with untreated hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Damage
Understanding how to prevent hearing loss is the initial step.
- Download a sound meter app on your phone. Discover how loud things really are.
- Learn about dangerous levels. In under 8 hours, permanent damage can be the result of volumes over 85dB. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to trigger permanent hearing loss. Instant hearing loss occurs at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is between 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after a concert, you’ve already induced lasting damage to your hearing. It will become more obvious over time.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when appropriate.
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most individuals.
- Even at lower levels, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing may still be in peril. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app will help but regarding headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Use your hearing aid. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you need it. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you stop utilizing them, it will be difficult to start again.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or just procrastinating? Stop it. You need to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you can be proactive to decrease further harm.
Consult Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss has no “natural cure”. It may be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Do a Cost to Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of people are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they choose to “just deal with”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they wear hearing aids. Or they are afraid that they won’t be able to afford them.
It’s easy to see, however, that when the adverse effect on health and relationships will cost more over time.
Talk to a hearing care specialist today about getting a hearing exam. And you don’t have to be concerned that you look old if you wind up requiring hearing aids. Todays hearing aids are sophisticated and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.