Growing up, you most likely began to associate hearing loss with old age. Most of us have had past experiences with older people attempting to make out conversations, or using hearing aids.
But just as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it rapidly approached, when you discover more concerning hearing loss, you come to understand that it has less to do with old age and a lot more to do with something else entirely.
Feeling old is the leading reason many people don’t want to admit they have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Dilemma”
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists can already detect some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% in the past 3 decades.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds presently have disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. What you might think of as age-related hearing loss is totally preventable. Substantially decreasing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical term for age-related hearing loss, is typically triggered by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was just part of aging. But today, scientists are more knowledgeable about exactly how to safeguard your hearing and even restore it.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
You should appreciate that loud noise is not harmless if you want to begin to safeguard your hearing.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. Going down into your ear these waves go beyond your eardrum and into the inner ear.
In the inner ear little hairs vibrate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of traffic, someone shouting for help, a waterfall, or any other sound which might be near you.
The problem is at the time the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells shake too fast. The sound shakes them until they die.
When these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Most kinds of damage can be healed by your body. But when you harm these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot ever come back again. Every time you are subjected to loud sound, a few more of these cells die.
As they die, hearing loss progresses.
Common Noises That Cause Hearing Injury
Most people are surprised to discover that routine activities might cause hearing loss. You might not think twice about:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo up too loud
- 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 profession
- Playing music in a band
These activities don’t need to be abandoned. Luckily, you can take practical steps to lessen noise-related hearing loss.
You Don’t Have to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss
If you already suffer from hearing loss, recognizing it does not have to cause you to feel older. The longer you neglect it, the worse it will get, and you will wind up feeling older much earlier because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
It’s a lot more common for people with neglected hearing loss to have problems with one or more of these.
Further Hearing Damage can be Prevented
The first step is to learn how to to prevent hearing loss.
- Determine how noisy everyday sounds actually are by using a sound meter app on your phone.
- Learn about damaging volumes. Above 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and above causes instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Understand that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing for a short time after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. Over time it will become worse.
- Put on earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow workplace hearing protection regulations.
- Minimize your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones that come with built-in volume control. These don’t go over 90 decibels. You would have to listen nearly non-stop all the time to do permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications tend to cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be sure, never listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers differ.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.
Schedule a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Make the right choice now rather than later. The faster you make the wise decision the less damage you will continue to do.
Get in touch with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Answers
There are not any “natural cures” for hearing damage. If you have severe hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Comparison is the First Step
Many sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they make the decision to “tough it out.” They think hearing aids will make them feel old. Or they believe that they are too expensive.
But when they realize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause many health and personal problems, it’s simple to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Consult a hearing care specialist today about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more advanced than you probably think!