Growing up into adulthood, you probably began to connect hearing loss with getting old. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
When you’re young, getting old seems so far away but as time passes you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
This is the one thing you should know: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Take Place at Any Age
By 12 years old, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, your not “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
Debilitating hearing loss has already developed for 2% of people between 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the issue. What you may consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And limiting its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for many years, thought to be an inescapable part of aging. But these days, science understands more about how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
How Noise Leads to Hearing Loss
Step one to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is composed of. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They progress past your eardrum into your inner ear.
In your inner ear are very small hair cells that vibrate when sound strikes them. Which hair cells oscillate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain is able to convert this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells move too rapidly. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually die.
when they’re gone, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
If you cut yourself, the cut heals. But when you impair these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they never grow back. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud sounds, more and more of these hairs die.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These every day Noises
Many people are surprised to learn that common activities can cause hearing loss. You may not think twice about:
- Using farm equipment
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Lawn mowing
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Playing in a band
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can decrease noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. Actually, you will feel older much sooner if you fail to acknowledge your hearing loss due to complications like:
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
These are all significantly more common in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Damage
Recognizing how to prevent hearing loss is the initial step.
- In order to figure out how loud things really are, download a sound meter app.
- Learn about dangerous volumes. In under 8 hours, permanent hearing loss can be caused by volumes above 85dB. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss occurs at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already caused permanent hearing damage each time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after going to a concert. It will become more severe as time passes.
- When it’s needed, use earplugs or earmuffs.
- When it comes to hearing protection, implement any rules that apply to your circumstance.
- If you need to be exposed to loud noises, regulate your exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a bad idea in any setting.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go above 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen almost continuously all day to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower levels. Always keep your headphones at 50% or less. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app will help but regarding headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Use your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them results in brain atrophy. It works the same way as your muscles. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Don’t do it. You need to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you will be proactive to decrease further harm.
Speak with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. It might be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Compare The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they decide to “tough it out”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they have hearing aids. Or they think that they cost too much.
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 expert right away about having a hearing exam. And if hearing aids are advised, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Present day hearing aids are sophisticated and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.