As you got older, you likely started to connect hearing loss with aging. You likely had older adults in your life struggling to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
But in the same way as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it started to catch up to you, as you learn more about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with getting old and much more to do with something else.
This is the one thing you should know: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Occur at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by the age of 12. Obviously, you aren’t “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s happening here?
Debilitating hearing loss has already set in for 2% of individuals between 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
It’s not an aging issue. What you probably consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And limiting its development is well within your ability.
Age-related hearing loss, medically known as sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for decades, considered to be an inescapable part of aging. But safeguarding and even restoring your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Noise Leads to Hearing Loss
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Waves are what sound is composed of. These waves travel into your ear canal. They reach your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
In your inner ear are very small hair cells that vibrate when sound impacts them. What hair cells oscillate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain can convert this code into words, running water, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you might hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells oscillate too quickly. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually fail.
when they’re gone, you can’t hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
If you cut yourself, the wound heals. But when you impair these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they never grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more little hair cells die.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Most people don’t realize that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Playing in a band
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Using farm equipment
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Mowing the lawn
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can minimize noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
If you’re currently suffering from loss of hearing, acknowledging it doesn’t have to make you feel older. In fact, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in only a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
These are all significantly more prevalent in people with neglected hearing loss.
Reduce Further Hearing Injury
Get started by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things actually are, download a sound meter app.
- Be familiar with dangerous levels. In less than 8 hours, permanent hearing loss can be caused by volumes above 85dB. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in over 15 minutes. Instant hearing loss happens at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after going to a concert, you’ve already generated permanent harm to your hearing. It will become more pronounced with time.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow work hearing protection safeguards.
- Limit your exposure time to loud noises.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any setting.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. At that volume, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of people.
- Even at lower volumes, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing could still be in peril. To be safe, you should never listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers will fluctuate and a volume meter app will help but regarding headphones, no louder than 50% is best policy.
- 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 making use of them, it will be hard to begin again.
Get a Hearing Examination
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Stop it. You need to accept your hearing loss so that you can take measures to minimize further damage.
Consult With Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing impairment has no “natural cure”. It could be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Compare The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of people who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply choose to deal with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they have hearing aids. Or they think they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause many relationship and health complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outnumber the cons.
Consult a hearing care professional right away about getting a hearing exam. And if hearing aids are advised, don’t worry about “feeling old”. Hearing aids at present are much sleeker and more advanced than you may think!