As you got older, you probably began to associate hearing loss with aging. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
When you’re young, getting old seems so distant but as time passes you start to realize that hearing loss is about much more than aging.
You need to understand this one thing: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Take Place at Any Age
By the age of 12, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the cause of this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from debilitating hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the problem. What you may consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And decreasing its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most prevalent cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for many years, thought to be an unavoidable part of aging. But protecting and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Step one to protecting 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.
Inside your inner ear are small hair cells that vibrate when sound strikes them. The speed and intensity of these vibrations will then encode a neurological signal. Your brain then converts this code into sound.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells oscillate too quickly. The sound shakes them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But these tiny hair cells don’t grow back or heal. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs perish.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Many people are surprised to find out that common activities can lead to hearing loss. These things probably seem totally harmless:
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Using farm equipment
- Playing in a band
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Mowing the lawn
- Going to a concert/play/movies
You don’t have to quit these things. Luckily, you can lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking some safety measures.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. The fact is, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in only a few years like:
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Increased Fall Risk
These are all substantially more common in people with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Additional Hearing Problems
Get started by knowing how to avoid hearing loss.
- In order to figure out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn about harmful volumes. In less than 8 hours, permanent hearing loss can be the result of volumes over 85dB. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. Immediate 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 permanent hearing damage every time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after going to a concert. The more often it happens, the worse it gets.
- When it’s necessary, use earmuffs and/or earplugs
- When dealing with hearing protection, follow any guidelines 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 on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go over 90 dB. Most people would have to listen almost non-stop all day to trigger irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be safe, do not listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop using them, it will be hard to start again.
Have a Hearing Exam
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Stop it. Be active about reducing further harm by recognizing your circumstance.
Consult With Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. It may be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they decide to “tough it out”. They don’t want people to think they are old because they have hearing aids. Or they assume they cost too much.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the harmful effect on relationships and health will cost more over time.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing professional. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t worry about “feeling old”. Modern hearing aids are stylish and advanced pieces of modern technology.