As you got older, you probably began to connect hearing loss with getting old. You probably had older adults in your life trying to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
In your youth, getting old seems so far away but as time passes you begin to realize that hearing loss is about much more than aging.
This is the one thing you should understand: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
By 12 years old, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the last 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has increased by 33 %.
What’s happening here?
Debilitating hearing loss has already developed for 2% of people between 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
It isn’t an aging problem. You can 100% avoid what is commonly thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And decreasing its progression is well within your ability.
Noise exposure is the most common cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For generations hearing loss was thought to be inescapable as you age. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Learning how noise causes hearing loss is step one in safeguarding hearing.
Waves are what sound is made of. These waves travel into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain can translate this code into words, running water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you might hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too intense, these hair cells move too quickly. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually die.
When these hairs are gone you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds like cuts or broken bones will heal. But when you damage these tiny hair cells, they cannot heal, and they never grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells fail.
Hearing loss gets worse as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Many people are surprised to learn that common activities can cause hearing loss. You might not think twice about:
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Playing in a band
- Using farm equipment
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Lawn mowing
You don’t have to give up these things. Luckily, you can decrease noise induced hearing loss by taking some safety measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t need to make you feel older. In fact, failing to accept it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel much older in just a few years like:
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
These are all significantly more prevalent in those with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Additional Hearing Problems
Recognizing how to stop hearing loss is the first step.
- In order to find out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Learn about harmful volumes. In less than 8 hours, permanent hearing loss can be caused by volumes over 85dB. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to trigger permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above will cause instantaneous hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after a concert, you’ve already caused lasting harm to your hearing. The more often it occurs, the worse it will become.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- When it comes to hearing protection, implement any guidelines that pertain to your situation.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud noises.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They never go over 90 dB. At that volume, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of people.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more vulnerable at lower levels. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Have a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or simply putting things off? Don’t do it. You have to accept your hearing loss so that you can take measures to decrease further damage.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
Hearing loss does not have any “natural cure”. It might be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply choose to deal with it. They think hearing aids make them look old. Or they assume they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause numerous relationship and health complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outnumber the cons.
Speak with a hearing care professional today about having a hearing exam. And you don’t have to be concerned that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Hearing aids today are a lot sleeker and more advanced than you may believe!