As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only has an affect on people of advanced age. You may have had older people around you struggling to make out conversations or using hearing aids.
But just as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it quickly approached, when you discover more regarding hearing loss, you find that it has less to do with old age and a lot more to do with something else.
This is the one thing to know: Admitting that you have hearing loss does not make you old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Dilemma”
By the age of 12, hearing specialists can already diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. Clearly, someone who is 12 years old is not “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% within the last 30 years.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds already have disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. It’s 100% possible to avoid, although the majority of people might consider it an aging problem. And you have the ability to drastically decrease the advancement of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, known medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most typically caused by noise.
For a long time people have believed that hearing loss was simply part of aging. But today, scientists know more about exactly how to protect your hearing and also restore it.
How Loud Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The initial step to safeguarding your ears is understanding how something as “harmless” as loud noise causes hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. Traveling down into your ear these waves go past your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how frequently these little hairs vibrate. Your brain can turn this code into crowd noise, rushing water, a car horn, a cry for help or whatever else you might hear.
The problem is that as sounds are too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The sound shakes them until they die.
When these hairs are lost then so is your hearing.
Hearing Loss Triggered by Loud Sound is Permanent
If you cut yourself, the wound will heal. These little cells never heal. When they die, they are lost forever. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more of these tiny cells you lose.
As they die, hearing loss advances.
Everyday Sounds That Can Cause Hearing Damage
This is a shocking fact for most people to discover. You might not question:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo way up
- 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 industry
- Playing music in a band
You don’t have to quit these activities. Thankfully, you can take practical steps to minimize noise-induced hearing loss.
You Don’t Have to Feel old Just Because you Have Hearing Loss
You can acknowledge that you’re suffering from hearing problems without having to feel old. The longer you disregard it, the worse it will get, and you will end up feeling older much sooner because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
It’s far more likely for people with untreated hearing loss to have problems with one or more of these.
Further Hearing Loss can be Avoided
The first step is to learn how to to counter hearing loss.
- Sound meter apps are available for your smart-phone which can tell you how loud things actually are.
- Learn about hazardous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and higher causes immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that you have already caused hearing damage if you have had a hard time hearing, or if your ears were ringing, after a concert. It will become a lot more pronounced as time goes by.
- Put on earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow workplace hearing protection restrictions.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up at home.
- Buy earbuds/headphones which have built-in volume control. They never go higher 90 decibels. You would have to listen practically non-stop all the time to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and a few medications can cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be sure, never listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s comparable to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to walk.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or putting off on it? Stop it. You need to know so that you can be proactive to lessen further damage.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional Concerning Hearing Solutions
There are not any “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If you have extreme hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Assessment is the First Step
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they make the decision to “tough it out.” They think hearing aids make them seem old. Or perhaps they believe that they are too expensive.
But as soon as they realize that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause numerous health and relationship issues, it’s easy to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Consult a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are advisable, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!