When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a consequence of aging. You likely had older adults in your life trying to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you learn more about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with the aging process and much more to do with something else.
This is the one thing you should know: It doesn’t mean that you’re old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Happen at Any Age
By 12 years old, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has risen by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already have disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. You can 100% avoid what is typically considered “age related hearing loss”. And decreasing its development is well within your power.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for years, assumed to be an inevitable part of aging. But protecting and even restoring your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
Learning how noise causes hearing loss is step one in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. Your ear canal receives these waves. They arrive at your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. The speed and intensity of these vibrations then encode a mental signal. Your brain is able to convert this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you might hear.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too intense, these hair cells vibrate too rapidly. The sound shakes them to death.
when they’re gone, you can’t hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
If you cut yourself, the cut heals. But these little hair cells won’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re subjected to loud noise, the more little hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Most people don’t realize that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. You might not think twice about:
- Mowing the lawn
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning up the car stereo
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Using farm equipment
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Playing in a band
You can keep doing these things. Thankfully, you can take proactive steps to limit noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t need to make you feel older. The fact is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in just a few years like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
These are all considerably more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
Reduce Further Hearing Damage
Start by knowing how to avoid hearing loss.
- In order to find out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn when volumes get dangerous. Over 85 dB (decibels) can lead to irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. Irreversible hearing loss, at 110 dB, occurs in over 15 minutes. 120 dB and over brings about instantaneous hearing loss. A gunshot is between 140 to 170 dB.
- Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after going to a concert, you’ve already induced lasting damage to your hearing. It will become more pronounced as time passes.
- When it’s necessary, use earplugs or earmuffs.
- When dealing with hearing protection, follow any guidelines that apply to your situation.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing near loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They never go above 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen almost non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
- Even at lower volumes, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing may still be in danger. To be safe, you should never listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. Not using hearing aids when you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you let them go, it will be hard to get them back.
Have a Hearing Exam
Are you putting things off or in denial? Stop it. Be proactive about reducing further damage by acknowledging your situation.
Contact Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There aren’t any “natural cures” for hearing loss. If hearing loss is extreme, it might be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of people who do recognize their hearing loss just decide to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they are old because they wear hearing aids. Or they assume that they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous relationship and health complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Schedule a hearing exam with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Hearing aids today are a lot sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!