When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of getting old. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
But in the same way as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you learn more about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else.
You need to realize this one thing: It doesn’t make you old just because you admit you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by the age of 12. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has risen by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already have debilitating hearing loss.
It isn’t an aging problem. You can 100% avoid what is commonly considered “age related hearing loss”. And limiting its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for years, considered to be an unavoidable part of aging. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Recognizing how noise results in hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. These waves travel into your ear canal. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations then encode a neurological signal. Your brain then converts this code into sound.
But these hairs can move with too much force when the inner ear receives sound that is too intense. The sound vibrates them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
If you cut your hand, the cut heals. But when you impair these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot regenerate. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more tiny hair cells fail.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. These things probably seem completely harmless:
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Being a musician
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Running farm equipment
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Mowing the lawn
- attending a movie/play/concert
You don’t have to quit these activities. Luckily, you can lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. Actually, you will feel older a lot sooner if you fail to recognize your hearing loss because of complications like:
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
For people with neglected hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Stop Further Hearing Injury
Get started by learning how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things actually are, download a sound meter app.
- Know about dangerous volumes. In less than 8 hours, permanent damage can be caused by volumes above 85dB. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, happens in over 15 minutes. 120 dB and over causes instantaneous hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing for a while after a concert, you’ve already generated permanent damage to your hearing. It will become more pronounced as time passes.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when necessary.
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a bad idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB upper limit. At that volume, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most people.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower levels. To be safe, do not listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers will vary and a volume meter app can help but regarding headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you require it. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop using them, it will be hard to start again.
Get a Hearing Exam
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. Be active about reducing further harm by recognizing your situation.
Speak with Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Solutions
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. It might be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Many individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they decide to “just deal with”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they wear hearing aids. Or they are worried 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 in the long run.
Speak with a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing test. And you don’t need to be concerned that you look old if you wind up requiring hearing aids. Present day hearing aids are stylish and advanced pieces of modern technology.