Early in life, you likely began to connect hearing loss with getting old. You probably had older adults around you struggling to understand conversations or using hearing aids.
As you begin to get older, you begin to realize that there is a further cause of hearing loss besides aging.
Feeling old is the biggest reason why people can’t admit they have hearing loss.
You can Start Loosing Your Hearing at any age
Even in pre-teens, audiologists can already diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. Needless to say, someone who is 12 is not really “old”. Teen hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 3 decades.
What are the key factors involved?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% presently suffer from debilitating hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
It’s not an aging problem. What you might think of as age-associated hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And you have the power to drastically minimize the progression of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, recognised medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly instigated by noise.
For decades hearing loss was thought to be unavoidable as you age. However thanks to cutting-edge science we know substantially more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing restoration.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
You should realize that loud noise is not harmless if you want to start to protect your hearing.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves go into your ear canal. They travel down through your eardrum and into your inner ear.
Inside of the inner ear little hairs resonate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can render this code into the sound of peoples voices, the sound of wind, a warning alert, a cry for help or whatever else you might hear.
The trouble is that as noises become too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. The noise vibrates them until they die.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
If you cut yourself, the injury will heal. These little cells never heal. When they die, they are gone permanently. The more you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more tiny hair cells die.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
There are Sounds That are Common Which can Cause Hearing Loss
This is a shocking thing for most people to find out. You may not think twice about:
- 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 factory or other loud industry
- Being a musician
You don’t have to give up these activities. Fortunately, you can take practical steps to reduce noise-related hearing loss.
Don’t Allow Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, acknowledging it does not need to make you feel older. As a matter of fact, failing to recognize it can doom you to faster progression and complications that will certainly cause you to you feel much older in only a few years including:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
These are all considerably more prevalent in people with untreated hearing loss.
How can you Avoid Continued Hearing Damage?
Learning how to avoid hearing loss is the first step.
- Find out how noisy everyday sounds really are by getting a sound meter app on your smart-phone.
- Learn about damaging volumes. Above 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing damage in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher results in immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 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. As time goes by it will become worse.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Adhere to workplace hearing safety procedures.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when listening at home.
- Buy earbuds/headphones that come with built-in volume control. These never go over 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen practically non-stop all day to do irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and various medications can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be sure, don’t ever listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers differ.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to walk.
Schedule a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Make the right choice sooner than later. You need to know so you can become proactive to reduce further damage.
Speak to Your Hearing Professional Regarding Hearing Solutions
There are no “normal cures” for hearing impairment. If you have severe hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
You Should way the Cost Compared to the Benefits of Buying Hearing Aids
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids will make them appear old. Or maybe they believe they cost too much.
But when they understand that hearing loss will become worse faster and can cause many health and personal difficulties, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care specialist today about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids nowadays are much sleeker and more advanced than you may think!