As we get older we tend to think that hearing loss only affects people of advanced age. You most likely had older adults around you trying to understand conversations or utilizing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, when you learn more with regards to hearing loss, you find out that it has much less to do with aging and a lot more to do with something else entirely.
This is the one thing you should know: accepting that you have hearing loss does not make you old.
It Doesn’t Make Any Difference What Your age is, you Might Still Have Hearing Loss
Even before we turn 13, audiologists can already diagnose some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, somebody who is 12 years old is not “old”. Within 30 years there has been a 33% increase in teen hearing loss.
What’s going on here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds presently have disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. What you may consider age-related hearing loss is absolutely preventable. Dramatically decreasing your hearing loss is very achievable.
Age-related hearing loss, recognised medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly brought on by noise.
For a long time people have thought that hearing loss was just part of the aging process. But presently, we are more knowledgeable concerning how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
Step one to safeguarding your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as loud noise causes hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. These waves go into your ear canal. They move all the way down past your eardrum and into your inner ear.
Tiny hair cells vibrate here in the inner ear. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how regularly these tiny little hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone crying for assistance, a waterfall, or any other sound which might be around.
The issue is that as sounds get too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. They die because the vibrations become too strong for them to deal with.
When these hairs are lost then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
If you cut your body, the wound heals. But when you injure these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they will not grow back again. The more you’re exposed to loud noises, the more little hair cells die.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
Hearing Injury is Caused by Common Noises
This is a unexpected thing for most people to find out. It’s very easy to discount:
- 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 factory or other loud industry
- Playing music in a band
You don’t have to give up these activities. It is possible to reduce noise related hearing damage by employing pro-active strategies.
You Don’t Need to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss
If you already suffer from hearing loss, acknowledging it does not need to cause you to feel older. The longer you ignore 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
It’s much more likely for people with untreated hearing loss to be dealing with one or more of these.
Continued Hearing Damage can be Avoided
Learning how to prevent hearing loss is the first step.
- Sound meter apps are readily available for your smart-phone that can tell you how loud things actually are.
- Learn about dangerous volumes. Above 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing damage in just 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 around 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing for a short time after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. As time goes by it will get worse.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow work hearing protection restrictions.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing near to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when listening at home.
- Buy earbuds/headphones that come with integrated volume control. These don’t go higher 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen pretty much non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and various medications can cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be sure, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much more difficult to start walking again.
Schedule an Appointment With a Hearing Specialist
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Stop it. The faster you make the smart decision the less injury you will continue to do.
Talk to Your Hearing Specialist Regarding Hearing Solutions
There are not any “natural cures” for hearing loss. If you have extreme hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
You Should way the Cost Against the Benefits of Buying Hearing Aids
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they decide to “tough it out.” They believe that hearing aids will make them seem old. Or perhaps they believe they are too expensive.
But as soon as they recognize that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause various health and relationship problems, it’s simple to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Call a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you probably think!