As you got older, you likely began to connect hearing loss with getting old. You probably had older adults around you struggling to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
When you’re young, getting old seems so distant but as time passes you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about a lot more than aging.
This is the one thing you should understand: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Occur at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already see 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 among teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
Disabling hearing loss has already developed for 2% of individuals between the ages of 45 and 55 and 8% of people between 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the issue. What you probably consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And decreasing its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for years, thought to be an inevitable part of aging. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The first step to safeguarding your hearing is understanding how something as “innocuous” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is made up of waves. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They arrive at your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Inside your inner ear are tiny hair cells that vibrate when sound impacts them. Which hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But these hairs can oscillate with too much intensity when the inner ear gets sound that is too loud. The sound shakes them to death.
When these hairs die you can no longer hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
If you cut your hand, the wound heals. But when you damage these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot grow back. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Many people are shocked to discover that every day activities can result in hearing loss. These things may seem totally harmless:
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Running farm equipment
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Lawn mowing
- attending a concert/play/movies
- Cranking up the car stereo
- Being a musician
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, you will feel older a lot sooner if you fail to acknowledge your hearing loss due to complications like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
For individuals with untreated hearing loss these are substantially more common.
Reduce Further Hearing Injury
Learning how to stop hearing loss is the starting point.
- So that you can figure out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Find out when volumes get hazardous. In under 8 hours, irreversible damage can be caused by volumes over 85dB. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to trigger permanent hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss occurs at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after going to a concert, you’ve already caused permanent damage to your hearing. The more often it occurs, the worse it gets.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- 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 bad idea in any setting.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most people.
- Even at lower levels, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing may still be in peril. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same as your muscles. If you stop using them, it will be difficult to start again.
Get a Hearing Exam
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Stop it. Be active about reducing further damage by recognizing your situation.
Consult With Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is severe, it may be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Compare The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Many individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they decide to “just deal with”. They believe that hearing aids make them seem 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 many health and relationship challenges, it’s easy to see that the pros well surpass the cons.
Talk to a hearing care specialist today about having a hearing test. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Todays hearing aids are stylish and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.