As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only has an affect on people of advanced age. Most of us have experience with older people struggling to comprehend conversations, or wearing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you up until it swiftly drew near, when you discover more regarding hearing loss, you come to understand that it has less to do with getting old and a lot more to do with something else.
Feeling old is the leading reason many people can’t admit they are suffering from hearing loss.
It Doesn’t Matter how old you are, you Might Still Have Hearing Loss
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists can already detect some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Clearly, someone who is 12 is certainly not “old”. Within 3 decades we have seen a 33% rise in teen hearing loss.
What’s going on here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% already suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
It’s not an aging problem. It’s totally possible to avoid, despite the fact that many people might think of it as an aging problem. And you have the power to considerably lessen the development of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, known medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly instigated by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was just part of aging. But in the present day, scientists are more knowledgeable about exactly how to protect your hearing and also restore it.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
The first step to protecting your ears is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. Traveling down into your ear these waves go beyond your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Tiny hair cells resonate here within the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone shouting for help, a jet plane, or any other sound which may be around you.
The trouble is that when noises get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The sound vibrates them to death.
If these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Most types of damage will be healed by your body. But when you injure these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot ever come back. The more frequently you’re exposed to loud noises, the more little cells you lose.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
Hearing Injury can be Caused by Common Sounds
This is a unexpected fact for most people to find out. You may not think twice about:
- 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 profession
- Being a musician
It’s not necessary to quit these activities. It is possible to reduce noise related hearing damage by taking pro-active steps.
Don’t Permit Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
You can admit that you’re suffering from loss of hearing without having to feel old. The longer you ignore it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will wind up feeling older much earlier because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
These are all considerably more prevalent in people with neglected hearing loss.
How can you Prevent Continued Hearing Damage?
Understanding how to prevent hearing loss is the first thing you should do.
- Discover how loud everyday sounds really are by getting a sound meter app on your cell phone.
- Unsafe volumes should be avoided without the correct ear protection. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and higher results in 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 a lot more pronounced as time goes by.
- Put on earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Comply with work hearing protection policies.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Purchase earbuds/headphones that have built-in volume control. They don’t go over 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen almost non-stop all the time to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and a few medications tend to make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid if you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s the same as your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to start walking again.
Schedule a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Stop it. The faster you make the wise decision the less damage you will continue to do.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Specialist Regarding Hearing Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Analysis is the First Step
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they decide to “tough it out.” They think hearing aids make them appear old. Or maybe they believe that they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will deteriorate faster and can cause various health and personal issues, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Call a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are needed, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much sleeker and more advanced than you may think!