As you got older, you probably began to associate hearing loss with getting old. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
In your youth, getting old seems so far away but as time passes you start to recognize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
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 a Condition That Can Occur at Any Age
By the age of 12, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. Teenage hearing loss has risen 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from debilitating hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the issue. You can 100% prevent what is typically thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And you have the power to significantly reduce its progression.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for many years, thought to be an unavoidable part of aging. But nowadays, science understands more about how to safeguard your hearing and even restore it.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Step one to safeguarding your hearing is learning how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells oscillate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain can convert this code into words, running water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too rapidly. The sound vibrates them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones will heal. But these little hair cells won’t grow back or heal. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs die.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are shocked to find out that common activities can result in hearing loss. These things probably seem totally harmless:
- Using farm equipment
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- attending a concert/play/movies
- Lawn mowing
- Playing in a band
- Turning the car stereo way up
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can take proactive actions to limit noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
If you’re already suffering from loss of hearing, admitting it doesn’t have 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 because of complications like:
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
For individuals with untreated hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Ways You Can Prevent Additional Hearing Problems
Understanding how to stop hearing loss is the initial step.
- So that you can find out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn about hazardous levels. Over 85 dB (decibels) can lead to irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. Lasting hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in about 15 minutes. Instant hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already triggered irreversible hearing damage every time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after a concert. The more often it happens, the worse it gets.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when appropriate.
- When it comes to hearing protection, adhere to any safeguards that pertain to your circumstance.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud noises.
- Avoid standing near loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They never go over 90 dB. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of people.
- Even at lower levels, if you are taking some common medications, have high blood pressure, or have low blood oxygen, you’re hearing might still be in danger. To be safe, never listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers will vary and a volume meter app will help but when it comes to headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to begin again.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further harm by acknowledging your situation.
Contact Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing.
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. If hearing loss is extreme, it might be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Cost to Benefit Comparison of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they decide to “just deal with”. They think hearing aids make them look old. Or they assume they cost too much.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the adverse effect on health and relationships will cost more over time.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are advised, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Todays hearing aids are stylish and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.