When you were younger, you probably considered hearing loss a result of aging. You probably had older adults around you struggling to comprehend words or wearing hearing aids.
In your youth, getting old seems so distant but as time goes by you start to recognize that hearing loss is about a lot more than aging.
You need to understand this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Happen at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already notice hearing loss by the age of 12. Obviously, your not “old” when you’re 12. Teen hearing loss has risen 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s the reason for this?
Disabling hearing loss has already set in for 2% of people between 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the problem. You can 100% prevent what is normally thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And you have the power to significantly decrease its progression.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age related or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
Hearing loss was, for decades, assumed to be an inevitable part of aging. But safeguarding and even restoring your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Understanding how noise causes hearing loss is step one in protecting hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. The canal of your ear receives these waves. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. What hair cells oscillate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too intense, these hair cells oscillate too fast. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually die.
When these hairs die you can no longer hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
If you cut your hand, the cut heals. But when you damage these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they never regenerate. The more often you’re subjected to loud noise, the more tiny hair cells die.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Many people are shocked to find out that every day activities can result in hearing loss. You may not think twice about:
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Playing in a band
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Running farm equipment
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Mowing the lawn
You don’t need to quit these things. Thankfully, you can take proactive measures to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. The truth is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel much older in only a few years like:
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
These are all substantially more common in individuals with neglected hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Damage
Get started by learning how to avoid hearing loss.
- So that you can find out how loud things really are, download a sound meter app.
- Learn about dangerous levels. Above 85 dB (decibels) can result in permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to trigger irreversible hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss occurs at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Realize that you’ve already caused permanent hearing damage every time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after going to a concert. It will become more obvious over time.
- When it’s needed, use earmuffs and/or earplugs
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- If you have to be exposed to loud noises, restrict the exposure time.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or cranking up speakers at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have built in volume control. They have a 90 dB limit. Most people would need to listen almost continuously all day to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be safe, never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. The brain will begin to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same way as your muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Schedule an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or just putting things off? Stop it. You have to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you will be proactive to reduce further harm.
Consult Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing.
Hearing impairment has no “natural cure”. It may be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Do a Cost to Benefit Analysis of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals who do recognize their hearing loss just decide to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they are old because they wear hearing aids. Or they think that they cost too much.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the negative effect on relationships and health will cost more over time.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing professional. And you don’t have to worry that you appear old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.