Growing up into adulthood, you probably started to associate hearing loss with aging. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it started to catch up to you, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you find it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else.
You need to understand this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already see hearing loss by age 12. Obviously, your not “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the problem. You can 100% avoid what is generally considered “age related hearing loss”. And limiting its development is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for many years, assumed to be an inescapable part of aging. But nowadays, science knows more about how to safeguard your hearing and even repair it.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. What hair cells oscillate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But when the inner ear receives sounds that are too loud, these hair cells move too rapidly. The sound vibrates them to death.
When these hairs are gone you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds like cuts or broken bones heal. But when you damage these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they never grow back. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud sounds, more and more of these hairs perish.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Many people are shocked to discover that every day activities can lead to hearing loss. These things might seem totally harmless:
- Playing in a band
- Running farm equipment
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Lawn mowing
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
You don’t need to quit these activities. Luckily, you can decrease noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, failing to accept it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
These are all considerably more prevalent in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Injury
Learning how to stop hearing loss is the first step.
- Download a sound meter app on your mobile device. Determine how loud things really are.
- Be familiar with hazardous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and over results in instantaneous hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Realize that you’ve already triggered permanent hearing damage each time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after going to a concert. It will become more pronounced with time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when necessary.
- Respect work hearing protection safeguards.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They have a 90 dB limit. Most people would need to listen almost continuously all day to cause irreversible damage.
- Even at lower levels, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing might still be in danger. Always keep your headphones at 50% or less. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Make an Appointment to Have a Hearing Exam
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Stop it. You have to accept your hearing loss so that you can take measures to lessen further harm.
Consult Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. It might be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is extreme.
Compare The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Benefits
Many individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss just choose to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they wear hearing aids. Or they assume they cost too much.
It’s easy to see, however, that when the negative effect on health and relationships will cost more in the long run.
Speak with a hearing care expert today about having a hearing exam. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be concerned about “feeling old”. Present day hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.