Growing up, you probably started to connect hearing loss with getting old. Most of us have had experience with older people trying to understand conversations, or wearing hearing aids.
As you grow up, you start to realize that there is a different factor regarding hearing loss in addition to aging.
A lot of people are frightened to admit they suffer from hearing loss because it causes them to feel like they are getting old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Problem”
Even in pre-teens, hearing specialists already begin to detect some amount of hearing loss in 13% of instances. Certainly, someone who is 12 is certainly not “old”. Within 30 years there has been a 33% increase in teenage hearing loss.
What’s going on here?
Of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% already suffer from disabling hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
The difficulty is not with aging. What you might consider age-associated hearing loss is 100% preventable. Significantly decreasing your hearing loss is very achievable.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical terminology for age-related hearing loss, is usually induced by 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 how to take care of your hearing and even restore it.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
The initial step to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. These waves travel into your ear canal. They travel down through your eardrum and into your inner ear.
In the inner ear little hairs vibrate. A neurological code is made up from how fast and how regularly these little hairs vibrate. Your brain can interpret this code into conversations, rushing water, a warning alert, a cry or whatever else you may hear.
The problem is that as noises are too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. The noise shakes them to death.
If you don’t have them, you can not hear.
Hearing Loss Caused by Loud Noise is Permanent
Many kinds of damage will be healed by your body. These little cells never heal. When they die, they are lost forever. Every time you are exposed to loud noise, a few more of these cells are lost for ever.
As they die, hearing loss advances.
Common Sounds That Can Cause Hearing Injury
This is a shocking thing for most people to discover. It’s easy to discount:
- 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 manufacturing plant or other loud industry
- Playing music in a band
It’s not necessary to give up these activities. It is possible to minimize noise associated hearing damage by employing pro-active measures.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
If you already suffer from hearing loss, admitting it does not need to cause you to feel older. The longer you ignore it, the worse it will 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 significantly more prevalent in people with untreated hearing loss.
Continued Hearing Loss can be Avoided
Start by learning exactly how to protect against hearing damage.
- Sound meter apps are available for your smart-phone which can show you how loud things really are.
- Hazardous volumes should be avoided without the correct hearing protection. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher causes instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 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 more obvious as time goes by.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Comply with workplace hearing safety rules.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing close to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when listening at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones that come with built-in volume control. These don’t go higher 90 decibels. You would need to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and a few medications tend to cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be safe, don’t ever listen to headphones at over 50%. Car speakers differ.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to walk.
Schedule an Appointment With a Hearing Expert
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Make the right decision sooner than later. You need to be aware so that you can become proactive to decrease further damage.
Get in touch with Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Solutions
There are no “normal cures” for hearing impairment. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Analysis is the First Step
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they decide to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them appear old. Or perhaps they believe they are too expensive.
However when they understand that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause various health and personal complications, it’s simple to be certain that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Consult a hearing care expert today about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!