As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only affects the older generation. You might have had older people around you struggling to hear words or utilizing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it swiftly approached, as you learn more about hearing loss, you find out that it has much less to do with growing old and a lot more to do with something else.
Feeling old is the leading reason people can’t admit they are suffering from hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Issue”
Even before we turn 13, audiologists can already diagnose some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teen hearing loss has gone up 33% within the last 30 years.
What’s at work here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% already suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
It’s not an aging problem. What you might think of as age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And you have the ability to greatly lessen the development of your hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical terminology for age-related hearing loss, is normally brought on by loud noise.
For a long time people have presumed that hearing loss was just part of getting old. However thanks to modern science we know much more concerning hearing loss prevention and even hearing restoration.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
The initial step to safeguarding your hearing is learning how something as “harmless” as noise causes hearing loss.
Sound is made up of waves of pressure. Traveling down into your ear these waves go past your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Tiny hair cells resonate here within the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can translate this code into the sound of peoples voices, rushing water, a car horn, a scream or anything else you may hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to noises that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. The noise shakes them until they die.
If you don’t have them, you can not hear.
Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Permanent
Most kinds of injury will be healed by your body. But when you harm these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot ever grow back. Every time you are exposed to loud noise, a few more of these cells die.
Hearing loss progresses as they die.
There are Sounds That are Common Which can Cause Hearing Loss
This is a shocking fact for most people to find out. You might not question:
- 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 factory or other loud profession
- Playing music in a band
You don’t have to give up these activities. Fortunately, you can take positive steps to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
You Don’t Need to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss
If you already suffer from hearing loss, recognizing it doesn’t need to make you feel older. The longer you ignore it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will end up feeling older much sooner because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
For people with neglected hearing loss, suffering from one or more of these is considerably more likely.
How can you Stop Continued Hearing Damage?
The first step is to learn how to to avoid hearing loss.
- Sound meter apps are available for your phone that can show you how loud things are.
- Learn about dangerous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing damage in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and higher causes instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 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. Over time it will become worse.
- Use earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Comply with work hearing protection regulations.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones which have integrated volume control. They never go over 90 decibels. You would have to listen pretty much non-stop all day to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and various medications can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.
Schedule an Appointment With a Hearing Expert
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Stop it. The sooner you make the smart choice the less injury you will continue to do.
Consult Your Hearing Specialist Concerning Hearing Answers
There are not any “normal cures” for hearing damage. If hearing loss is serious, it might be time to purchase a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Evaluation is the First Step
Lots of sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them seem old. Or maybe they believe they are too expensive.
But when they realize that hearing loss will become worse faster and can cause several health and relationship issues, it’s easy to be certain that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are needed, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids today are much sleeker and more advanced than you probably think!