When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a consequence of aging. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
But in the same way as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else.
You need to understand this one thing: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Occur at Any Age
By 12 years old, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teenage hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s happening here?
Disabling hearing loss has already developed for 2% of people between 45 and 55 and 8% of people between 55 and 64.
It’s not an aging issue. What you may consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And you have the ability to significantly minimize its development.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for decades, assumed to be an inevitable part of aging. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
The first step to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “innocuous” as noise results in hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is made of. These waves go into your ear canal. They reach your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. The speed and intensity of these vibrations will then encode a mental signal. Your brain can translate this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you might hear.
But these hairs can vibrate with too much intensity when the inner ear receives sound that is too loud. This level of sound damages these hairs and they will eventually fail.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But when you impair these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot regenerate. The more often you’re subjected to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss progresses.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Many people are shocked to find out that daily activities can result in hearing loss. You may not think twice about:
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Playing in a band
- Mowing the lawn
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Running farm equipment
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
You don’t need to quit these things. Luckily, you can lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. The fact is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
These are all substantially more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Further Hearing Problems
Get started by knowing how to avoid hearing loss.
- Download a sound meter app on your smartphone. Discover how loud things really are.
- Learn when volumes become hazardous. In under 8 hours, irreversible hearing loss can be the result of volumes over 85dB. Irreversible hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in over 15 minutes. Immediate hearing loss happens at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing for a while after going to a concert, you’ve already caused permanent harm to your hearing. The more often it occurs, the worse it gets.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when necessary.
- When it comes to hearing protection, adhere to any rules that pertain to your circumstance.
- If you need to be exposed to loud sounds, regulate the exposure time.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. Most people would have to listen nearly continuously all day to trigger permanent damage.
- Even at lower volumes, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing could still be in peril. Always keep your headphones at 50% or less. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, wear it. Not using hearing aids when you need them results in brain atrophy. It works the same way as the muscles in your body. If you let them go, it will be difficult to get them back.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or simply procrastinating? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further harm by acknowledging your situation.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
Hearing impairment has no “natural cure”. It may be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Compare The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Many individuals are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they choose to “tough it out”. They believe that hearing aids make them look old. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous health and relationship complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Consult a hearing care specialist right away about getting a hearing exam. And if hearing aids are advised, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Modern hearing aids are stylish and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.