Growing up into adulthood, you likely began to connect hearing loss with aging. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
But in the same way as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it started to catch up to you, as you learn more about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else.
You need to understand this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Take Place at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already notice hearing loss by the age of 12. Needless to say, you aren’t “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss among 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.
Aging isn’t the issue. What you probably consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And limiting its development is well within your power.
Noise exposure is the most prevalent cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for decades, considered to be an inevitable part of aging. But nowadays, science knows more about how to protect your hearing and even repair it.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Waves are what sound is made of. Your ear canal receives these waves. They go past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. Which hair cells oscillate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too intense, these hair cells vibrate too fast. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually fail.
When these hairs die you can no longer hear.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
Wounds like cuts or broken bones heal. But when you damage these tiny hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot regenerate. Over time, as you subject your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
As they do, hearing loss progresses.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These every day Noises
Many people are surprised to discover that common activities can result in hearing loss. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Mowing the lawn
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Playing in a band
- Running farm equipment
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Going to a noisy workplace
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can take proactive measures to minimize noise-induced hearing loss.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
If you’re currently suffering from loss of hearing, admitting 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 recognize your hearing loss due to complications like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
For individuals with neglected hearing loss these are a lot more prevalent.
Ways You Can Avoid Further Hearing Problems
Get started by learning how to avoid hearing loss.
- In order to find out how loud things actually are, download a sound meter app.
- Learn when volumes become harmful. Above 85 dB (decibels) can lead to irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause lasting hearing loss. 120 dB and over will cause immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Understand that you’ve already caused permanent hearing damage each time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after a concert. It will become more severe as time passes.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- When dealing with hearing protection, adhere to any rules that pertain to your situation.
- If you have to be exposed to loud sounds, restrict your exposure time.
- Avoid standing near loudspeakers or cranking up speakers at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go above 90 decibels. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of individuals.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower levels. To be safe, do not listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers will vary and a volume meter app will help but when it comes to headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- If you have a hearing aid, wear it. Not wearing hearing aids when you require them results in brain atrophy. It works the same way as the muscles in your body. If you let them go, it will be tough to get them back.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or just procrastinating? Don’t do it. You need to accept your hearing loss so that you can be proactive to reduce further damage.
Speak with Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Loss Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or they choose to “just deal with”. They think hearing aids make them look old. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous relationship and health complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Speak with a hearing care specialist right away about getting a hearing exam. And you don’t have to worry that you look old if you wind up needing hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.