Growing up into adulthood, you probably started to associate hearing loss with aging. You likely had older adults in your life trying to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
In your youth, getting old seems so far away but as time passes you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
You need to realize this one thing: It doesn’t mean that you’re old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
By the age of 12, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Needless to say, your not “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has risen by 33 %.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
It isn’t an aging issue. You can 100% avoid what is commonly considered “age related hearing loss”. And reducing its progression is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for many years, considered to be an unavoidable part of aging. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
Learning how noise results in hearing loss is the first step in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
In your inner ear are little hair cells that oscillate when sound strikes them. The intensity and speed of these vibrations then encode a neurological signal. Your brain is able to translate this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you might hear.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too intense, these hair cells oscillate too quickly. The sound shakes them to death.
Without them, you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
If you cut your hand, the cut heals. But these tiny hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Most people don’t realize that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. You may not think twice about:
- Being a musician
- Running farm equipment
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Mowing the lawn
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Cranking up the car stereo
You don’t have to give up these activities. Luckily, you can minimize noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. Actually, you will feel older much sooner if you fail to recognize your hearing loss due to complications like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
These are all substantially more prevalent in people with neglected hearing loss.
Reduce Further Hearing Injury
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- Download a sound meter app on your smartphone. Learn how loud things really are.
- Learn about dangerous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) can result in permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. Lasting hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in over 15 minutes. Immediate hearing loss happens at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Realize that you’ve already triggered irreversible hearing damage every time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after going to a concert. It will become more pronounced over time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow work hearing protection safeguards.
- If you need to be exposed to loud sounds, regulate your exposure time.
- Refrain from standing near loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a safer listening experience. They never go above 90 dB. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of individuals.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more vulnerable at lower levels. To be safe, you should never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same way as the muscles in your body. If you stop using them, it will be difficult to begin again.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or simply procrastinating? Stop it. Be active about reducing further damage by acknowledging your situation.
Consult Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. It could be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Lots of individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss just decide to cope with it. They think hearing aids make them seem old. Or they think that they cost too much.
It’s easy to see, however, that when the adverse effect on relationships and health will cost more in the long run.
Speak with a hearing care expert right away about having a hearing exam. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Hearing aids at present are significantly sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!