As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only affects older people. You probably had older adults around you struggling to hear words or wearing hearing aids.
As you begin to get older, you start to understand that there is another factor regarding hearing loss other than aging.
Feeling old is the main reason why many people won’t admit they are suffering from hearing loss.
You can Start to Lose Your Hearing Even When Your Younger
By the age of 12, hearing specialists already begin to diagnose some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll agree, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 30 years we have seen a 33% rise in teen hearing loss.
What’s at work here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% currently suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
The issue is not with getting old. It’s totally possible to prevent, despite the fact that the majority of people may consider it an aging problem. Dramatically lessening your hearing loss is within reach.
Age-related hearing loss, recognized medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly instigated by loud noise.
For ages hearing loss was assumed to be unavoidable when you age. But thanks to today’s science we understand substantially more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing restoration.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
The first step to taking care of your hearing is recognizing how something as “harmless” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Sound is made up of waves of pressure. Going down into your ear these waves go past your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Tiny hair cells vibrate here inside of the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of running water, someone crying for assistance, a waterfall, or any other sound which may be near you.
The problem is that as sounds are too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The noise shakes them to death.
If these hairs are lost then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Lots of kinds of injury can be healed by your body. But when you damage these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they never grow back. The more you’re exposed to loud noises, the more little hair cells you lose.
As they die, hearing loss progresses.
Common Noises Which Will Cause Hearing Damage
Most people are surprised to discover that routine activities may be the cause of hearing loss. It’s very easy to overlook:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo up too loud
- 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 profession
- Playing music in a band
These activities don’t need to be abandoned. Fortunately, you can take proactive measures to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
Don’t Permit Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, accepting it does not have to make you feel older. The longer you ignore it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will wind up feeling older much sooner because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
It’s significantly more common for people with neglected hearing loss to be dealing with one or more of these.
How can you Stop Continued Hearing Damage?
Start by understanding how to avoid hearing loss.
- Discover how loud everyday sounds actually are by using a sound meter app on your smart-phone.
- Hazardous volumes should be avoided without proper ear protection. More than 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing loss in only 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher will cause instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing for a short time after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. It will get a lot more pronounced over time.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Follow workplace hearing safety restrictions.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing close to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
- Purchase earbuds/headphones which come with built-in volume control. These don’t go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen nearly non-stop all the time to do irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be certain, never listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid if you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s comparable to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much harder to walk.
Contact a Hearing Professional for a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Stop it. You need to be aware so that you can become proactive to minimize further damage.
Speak to Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Answers
There are no “natural cures” for hearing damage. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Analysis is the First Step
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they choose to “tough it out.” They feel that hearing aids make them seem old. Or maybe they think they cost too much.
However when they recognize that hearing loss will deteriorate faster and can cause numerous health and relationship problems, it’s easy to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care professional now about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids nowadays are much more streamlined and more advanced than you probably think!