When you were younger, you probably thought of hearing loss as a result of aging. You likely had older adults in your life struggling to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
When you’re young, getting old seems so distant but as time goes by you start to recognize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
Here is the one thing you should understand: It doesn’t make you old just because you admit you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Take Place at Any Age
By 12 years old, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss among teenagers has gone up by 33 %.
What’s happening here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already have debilitating hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% avoid what is generally considered “age related hearing loss”. And decreasing its progression is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For decades hearing loss was thought to be inevitable as you age. But safeguarding and even restoring your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Step one to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is composed 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 small hair cells which oscillate when sound impacts them. The intensity and speed of these vibrations then encode a neurological signal. Your brain is able to translate this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.
But these hairs can oscillate with too much force when the inner ear gets sound that is too loud. The sound shakes them to death.
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 will heal. But these tiny hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re subjected to loud sounds, the more tiny hair cells die.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Being a musician
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Running farm equipment
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- attending a concert/play/movies
- Mowing the lawn
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can decrease noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, failing to accept it can doom you to faster progression and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in only a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
For individuals with untreated hearing loss these are a lot more prevalent.
Prevent Further Hearing Injury
Understanding how to stop hearing loss is the starting point.
- Download a sound meter app on your mobile device. Find out how loud things actually are.
- Learn about hazardous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in about 15 minutes. Immediate hearing loss takes place 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 a concert, you’ve already caused permanent harm to your hearing. It will become more obvious with time.
- When it’s necessary, wear earmuffs and/or earplugs
- When it comes to hearing protection, adhere to any rules that apply to your situation.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud noises.
- Refrain from standing close to loudspeakers or cranking up speakers at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go over 90 dB. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most individuals.
- Even at lower volumes, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing might still be in peril. To be safe, never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you require it. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you let them go, it will be tough to get them back.
Get a Hearing Examination
Are you in denial or just procrastinating? Stop it. Be proactive about reducing further damage by recognizing your circumstance.
Contact Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There aren’t any “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is extreme, it may be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they choose to “tough it out”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they wear hearing aids. Or they are afraid 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.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are advised, don’t worry about “feeling old”. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.