Growing up, you likely began to associate hearing loss with aging. You most likely had older people around you trying to hear conversations or wearing hearing aids.
But much like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, as you discover more regarding hearing loss, you come to understand that it has less to do with growing old and far more to do with something else entirely.
A lot of people are scared to admit they have hearing loss because it causes them to feel like they are getting old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Problem”
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists already begin to identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. Clearly, someone who is 12 is not “old”. Teen hearing loss has gone up 33% within the last 3 decades.
What’s going on here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds currently have debilitating hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. What you might think of as age-related hearing loss is totally preventable. Considerably reducing your hearing loss is very achievable.
Age-related hearing loss, recognized medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently brought on by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was always part of the aging process. However, thanks to modern-day science we understand much more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing restoration.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Step one to safeguarding your hearing is learning how something as “harmless” as loud noise causes hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. These waves travel into your ear canal. They move downward beyond your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear resonate. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how regularly these little hairs vibrate. Your brain can render this code into words, the sound of wind, a warning alert, a cry for help or whatever else you might hear.
The issue is that when noises get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The noise shakes them to death.
If these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Many types of damage will be healed by your body. These little cells never heal. When they die, they are gone forever. Every time you are exposed to loud noise, more of these cells are lost forever.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
There are Sounds That are Common Which can Cause Hearing Loss
This is a surprising thing for most people to find out. 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
These activities don’t need to be abandoned. It is possible to minimize noise related hearing damage by employing pro-active measures.
Don’t Permit Hearing Loss Make you Feel old
If you already suffer from hearing loss, recognizing it doesn’t need to cause you to feel older. The longer you disregard it, the worse it will get, and you will end 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 common in people with neglected hearing loss.
Further Hearing Loss can be Prevented
Start by recognizing exactly how to avoid hearing damage.
- Put a sound meter app on your smart-phone, and find out how loud things truly can be.
- Learn about dangerous volumes. More than 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing damage in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above results in instant 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. As time goes by it will become worse.
- Put on earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Observe work hearing safety rules.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing near to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up at home.
- Purchase earbuds/headphones which have integrated volume control. They never go higher 90 decibels. You would have to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to do irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be safe, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to start walking again.
Schedule a Hearing Exam
Are you in denial or putting off on it? Make the right decision sooner than later. The faster you make the wise choice the less damage you will keep doing.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Specialist Regarding Hearing Answers
There are no “natural cures” for hearing damage. If you have extreme hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Analysis is the First Step
Many sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or alternatively, they choose to “tough it out.” They believe that hearing aids will make them seem old. Or maybe they think they are too expensive.
But when they understand that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause numerous health and personal complications, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Call a hearing care expert now about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids today are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you may think!