Early in life, you most likely began to associate hearing loss with getting old. You might have had older people around you trying to understand conversations or using hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it rapidly drew near, when you learn more regarding hearing loss, you come to understand that it has much less to do with growing old and far more to do with something else.
This is the one thing to know: recognizing that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Problem”
By the age of 12, hearing specialists can already diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of instances. Obviously, somebody who is 12 is not really “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% within the last 30 years.
What’s going on here?
Out of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% presently suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
The issue is not with aging. What you might consider age-related hearing loss is absolutely avoidable. Dramatically decreasing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical terminology for age-related hearing loss, is frequently brought on by loud noise.
For decades hearing loss was considered to be inevitable as you get older. However thanks to modern science we understand much more concerning hearing loss prevention and even hearing regeneration.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The initial step to protecting your hearing is learning how something as “innocent” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves go into your ear canal. They move downward through your eardrum and into your inner ear.
Here, tiny little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can interpret this code into crowd noise, the sound of wind, a car horn, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
The problem is when the inner ear is subjected to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. They die because the vibrations become too loud for them to deal with.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Countless types of damage can be healed by your body. These little cells do not heal. When they are gone, they are gone forever. Each and every time you are subjected to loud noise, a few more of these cells die.
As they die, hearing loss advances.
Hearing Damage can be Caused by Common Sounds
Most people are shocked to discover that everyday activities might be the cause of hearing loss. It’s very easy to overlook:
- 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 industry
- Playing music in a band
It’s not necessary to quit these activities. It is possible to minimize noise induced hearing damage by employing pro-active strategies.
Don’t Allow Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
You can admit that you suffer from hearing problems without feeling old. The longer you dismiss it, the worse it’s going to 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 considerably more common for people with untreated hearing loss to be dealing with one or more of these.
How can you Prevent Further Hearing Damage?
Begin by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- Get a sound meter app on your cell phone, and find out how loud things truly can be.
- Learn about harmful volumes. More than 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing damage in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher causes immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing briefly following a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. It will get a lot more obvious over time.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Comply with workplace hearing protection guidelines.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing near to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones that come with integrated volume control. These never go higher 90 decibels. You would need to listen pretty much non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and a few medications can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be sure, never listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers differ.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid if you 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 walk.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Make the right choice sooner than later. The faster you make the wise choice the less injury you will keep doing.
Get in touch with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing damage. If hearing loss is severe, it might be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hearing Aids
Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids will make them feel old. Or maybe they think they are too expensive.
However as soon as they recognize that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause various health and relationship complications, it’s easy to be certain that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Consult a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are needed, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids today are much more streamlined and more advanced than you may think!