When you were younger, you probably thought of hearing loss as 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 started to catch up to you, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with getting old and much more to do with something else.
You need to realize this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Happen at Any Age
By the age of 12, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Needless to say, your not “old” when you’re 12. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the problem. You can 100% prevent what is typically thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And you have the ability to significantly decrease its advancement.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently caused by noise.
For generations hearing loss was thought to be inescapable as you get older. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Step one to protecting your hearing is learning how something as “innocuous” as noise causes hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves travel into your ear canal. They move down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
In your inner ear are little hair cells that oscillate when sound strikes them. The speed and intensity of these vibrations then encode a neurological signal. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But these hairs can vibrate with too much intensity when the inner ear gets sound that is too loud. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually stop working.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But these little hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss progresses.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are surprised to discover that every day activities can result in hearing loss. You may not think twice about:
- Lawn mowing
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Using farm equipment
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Being a musician
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
You can keep doing these things. Thankfully, you can take proactive steps to limit noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t have to make you feel older. The fact is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster progression and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
For individuals with untreated hearing loss these are much more common.
Prevent Further Hearing Damage
Start by learning how to avoid hearing loss.
- Get a sound meter app on your smartphone. Discover how loud things really are.
- Learn when volumes become hazardous. In under 8 hours, permanent damage can be the result of volumes above 85dB. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to trigger irreversible hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 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. The more often it occurs, the worse it gets.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- If you have to be exposed to loud sounds, regulate your exposure time.
- Refrain from standing near loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They have a 90 dB limit. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most 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. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app will help but when it comes to headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- If you have a hearing aid, wear it. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you stop utilizing them, it will be difficult to begin again.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or just putting things off? Stop it. Be active about reducing further damage by recognizing your circumstance.
Contact Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss has no “natural cure”. If hearing loss is extreme, it may be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Many people who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply choose to deal with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they have hearing aids. Or they think they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous health and relationship challenges, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Talk to a hearing care professional today about having a hearing test. And you don’t have to be concerned that you look old if you wind up requiring hearing aids. Hearing aids at present are significantly sleeker and more sophisticated than you may believe!