The Most Important Thing to Know About Hearing Loss

Woman not letting hearing loss and use of hearing aids stop her from feeling young and playing with her grandkids.

Early in life, you probably began to associate hearing loss with old age. Nearly all of us have past experiences with older people attempting to make out conversations, or using hearing aids.

But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, when you discover more with regards to hearing loss, you find out that it has less to do with growing old and a lot more to do with something else.

This is the most important thing to know: recognizing that you have hearing loss will not make you old.

It Doesn’t Make A Difference What Your age is, you Might Still get Hearing Loss

Even in pre-teens, audiologists can already diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, somebody who is 12 is certainly not “old”. Within 3 decades there has been a 33% rise in teenage hearing loss.

What’s at work here?

Of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% presently suffer from debilitating hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.

The issue is not with aging. What you may think of as age-related hearing loss is totally preventable. Dramatically minimizing your hearing loss is very achievable.

Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical name for age-related hearing loss, is in most cases induced by by loud noise.

For decades hearing loss was considered to be inevitable as you age. But thanks to modern-day science we know much more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.

The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss

The first step to safeguarding your ears is recognizing how something as “harmless” as noise can cause hearing loss.

Sound is made up of waves of pressure. These waves travel into your ear canal. They move down through your eardrum and into your inner ear.

Within the inner ear little hairs resonate. A neurological code is made up from how fast and how regularly these little tiny hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone shouting for help, a waterfall, or any other sound which may be near you.

But when the inner ear is exposed to noises that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too fast. The sound shakes them to death.

Without them, you can’t hear.

Hearing Loss Caused by Loud Noise is not Reversible

If you cut your body, the wound will heal. These little cells do not heal. When they are gone, they are lost forever. Every time you are exposed to loud noise, more of these cells are lost for ever.

As they die, hearing loss progresses.

Common Noises Which Cause Hearing Injury

Most people are surprised to discover that everyday activities may be the cause of hearing loss. You may not question:

  • Going to a concert/play/movie
  • Wearing earbuds/head phones
  • Turning the car stereo way up
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Using farm equipment
  • Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
  • Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
  • Working in a manufacturing plant or other loud industry
  • Hunting
  • Being a musician

These activities don’t need to be given up. It is possible to lessen noise related hearing damage by taking pro-active steps.

You Don’t Need to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss

You can accept that you suffer from hearing loss without feeling old. The longer you neglect it, the worse it will get, and you will wind up feeling older much sooner because of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • 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 significantly more likely.

How can you Stop Further Hearing Damage?

Begin by learning how to prevent hearing damage.

  1. Sound meter apps are available for your cellphone that can show you how loud things actually are.
  2. Dangerous volumes should be avoided without the correct ear protection. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing damage in only 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher results in instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
  3. 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. As time goes by it will get worse.
  4. Put on earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
  5. Observe workplace hearing safety guidelines.
  6. Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
  7. Refrain from standing near to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when at home.
  8. Buy earbuds/headphones that have built-in volume control. They never go over 90 decibels. You would have to listen practically non-stop all day to do irreversible damage.
  9. High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and various medications tend to make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be certain, never listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers differ.
  10. Wear your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid if you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s much like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much more difficult to walk.

Schedule a Hearing Exam

Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Make the right decision now rather than later. You need to be aware so that you can be proactive to lessen further damage.

Speak to Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Answers

There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.

A Cost-Benefits Analysis is the First Step

Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they decide to “tough it out.” They feel that hearing aids make them appear old. Or maybe they believe they cost too much.

However when they understand that hearing loss will deteriorate faster and can cause various health and relationship problems, it’s easy to be certain that the pros far outweigh the cons.

Consult a hearing care professional now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are advisable, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids nowadays are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you may think!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.