Growing up into adulthood, you most likely started to connect hearing loss with aging. You probably had older adults around you trying to understand conversations or utilizing hearing aids.
But much like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it rapidly approached, as you learn more about hearing loss, you find that it has less to do with aging and far more to do with something else.
Feeling old is the leading reason many people don’t want to admit they are suffering from hearing loss.
You can Start Losing Your Hearing at any age
By the age of 12, hearing specialists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of instances. You’ll agree, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% within the last 3 decades.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds already have disabling hearing loss.
The problem is not with aging. What you may think of as age-associated hearing loss is actually totally avoidable. And you have the power to greatly reduce the development of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, recognised medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently brought on by noise.
For a long time people have presumed that hearing loss was simply part of getting old. However thanks to modern science we know much more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
You should appreciate that noise is not harmless if you wish to start to protect your hearing.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. These waves go into your ear canal. They travel downward beyond your eardrum into your inner ear.
Tiny hair cells resonate here within the inner ear. A neurological code is made up from how fast and how frequently these tiny little hairs vibrate. Your brain can translate this code into words, traffic sounds, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
The problem is that as sounds get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. They die because the vibrations get to be too strong for them to deal with.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Countless types of damage will be healed by your body. But when you injure these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they will not ever come back. The more you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more of these tiny hair cells you lose.
As they die, hearing loss progresses.
There are Noises That are Common Which can Cause Hearing Damage
Many people are surprised to learn that routine activities can cause hearing loss. It’s very easy to overlook:
- 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 quit these activities. Thankfully, you can take practical steps to lessen noise-induced hearing loss.
Don’t Permit Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, acknowledging it doesn’t need to make you feel older. The longer you dismiss it, the worse it will 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
For people with neglected hearing loss, suffering from one or more of these is significantly more common.
Continued Hearing Damage can be Prevented
Start by understanding how to protect against hearing damage.
- Put a sound meter app on your cell phone, and find out how loud things really can be.
- Harmful volumes should be avoided without proper hearing protection. More than 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and higher will cause 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. It will get more obvious over time.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Comply with workplace hearing safety guidelines.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Purchase earbuds/headphones which have integrated volume control. These don’t go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen almost non-stop all the time to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and various medications can cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much harder to start walking again.
Make an Appointment With a Hearing Specialist
Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Stop it. The sooner you make the wise choice the less damage you will continue to do.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Specialist Regarding Hearing Answers
There are not any “normal cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to invest in a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Evaluation is the First Step
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they decide to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them appear old. Or perhaps they believe they are too expensive.
However when they understand that hearing loss will become worse faster and can cause various health and relationship difficulties, it’s simple to be certain that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids at present are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you may think!