When you were younger, you probably thought of hearing loss as a consequence of getting old. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
When you’re young, getting old seems so far away but as time goes by you begin to realize that hearing loss is about a lot more than aging.
You need to realize this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Take Place at Any Age
By the age of 12, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Clearly, your not “old” when you’re 12. Teenage hearing loss has risen 33% in the last 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.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% prevent what is typically considered “age related hearing loss”. And you have the ability to significantly reduce its progression.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for years, considered to be an inevitable part of aging. But nowadays, science understands more about how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The first step to protecting your hearing is recognizing how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves. Your ear canal receives these waves. They reach your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. The speed and intensity of these vibrations then encode a mental signal. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too loud, these hair cells oscillate too quickly. The sound vibrates them to death.
When these hairs die you can no longer hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible, Here’s Why
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones will heal. But when you damage these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they never regenerate. Over time, as you subject your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are shocked to discover that daily activities can result in hearing loss. You may not think twice about:
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Being a musician
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- attending a movie/play/concert
- Using farm equipment
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Mowing the lawn
- Turning the car stereo way up
You don’t need to give up these things. Luckily, you can take protective measures to minimize noise-induced hearing loss.
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. The fact is, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster progression and complications that “will” make you feel much older in only a few years like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
For people with neglected hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Stop Further Hearing Damage
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can find out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn about dangerous levels. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 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.
- Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after going to a concert, you’ve already caused permanent damage to your hearing. It will become more severe over time.
- When it’s necessary, use earplugs or earmuffs.
- Follow work hearing protection rules.
- If you need to be exposed to loud noises, regulate your exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any setting.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have built in volume control. They never go above 90 decibels. At that level, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most people.
- Even at lower volumes, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing could still be in peril. To be safe, do not listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not using hearing aids when you need them results in brain atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Have a Hearing Examination
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. You need to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you will take measures to reduce further damage.
Speak with Your Audiologist About Hearing Loss Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of individuals who do recognize their hearing loss just choose to deal with it. They don’t want people to think they are old because they have hearing aids. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
It’s easy to see, however, that when the harmful effect on relationships and health will cost more in the long run.
Speak with an audiologist today about getting a hearing exam. And you don’t need to be concerned that you look old if you end up needing hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.