Growing up into adulthood, you likely started to connect hearing loss with aging. Almost all of us have had experience with older people trying to comprehend conversations, or wearing hearing aids.
But just like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it rapidly drew near, when you discover more about hearing loss, you come to understand that it has less to do with getting old and much more to do with something else entirely.
Most people are scared to admit they have hearing loss because it causes them to feel old.
You can Start Losing Your Ability to Hear even when your younger
Even before we turn 13, audiologists already begin to detect some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, somebody who is 12 years old is certainly not “old”. Within 3 decades we have seen a 33% increase in teenage hearing loss.
What’s going on here?
Of all 45 – 55-year olds, 2% already suffer from debilitating hearing loss, and with 55 – 65-year-olds it’s 8%.
The problem is not with getting old. It’s absolutely possible to prevent, despite the fact that many people may think of it as an aging problem. Appreciably decreasing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical name for age-related hearing loss, is in most cases triggered by loud noise.
For a long time people have believed that hearing loss was just part of the aging process. But thanks to innovative science we understand much more about hearing loss prevention and even hearing regeneration.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
Step one to taking care of your hearing is realizing how something as “harmless” as noise causes hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves go into your ear canal. They travel downward beyond your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, tiny little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can interpret this code into the sound of peoples voices, traffic sounds, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.
The trouble is that as sounds get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. They die because the vibrations are too loud for them to deal with.
When these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
If you cut yourself, the wound will heal. But when you injure these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot ever grow back again. The more you’re exposed to loud noises, the more little hair cells die.
Hearing loss progresses as they die.
Hearing Injury can be Caused by Everyday Noises
This is an unexpected fact for most people to discover. It’s 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
- Being a musician
These activities don’t need to be given up. Fortunately, you can take proactive measures to lessen noise-related hearing loss.
You Don’t Have to Feel old Just Because you Have Hearing Loss
If you already suffer from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t need to make you 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 prevalent in people with untreated hearing loss.
Prevent Further Hearing Injury
Understanding how to stop hearing loss is the first step.
- Put a sound meter app on your smart-phone, and find out how loud things actually can be.
- Learn about harmful volumes. Above 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing loss in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and higher will cause instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- Understand that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing briefly immediately after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. As time goes by it will get worse.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Respect work hearing protection policies.
- Reduce your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Refrain from standing near to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones which have integrated volume control. These don’t go over 90 decibels. You would need to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to do irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and several medications can cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers differ.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid if you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s the same as your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to start walking again.
Schedule an Appointment With a Hearing Specialist
Are you putting off on it or are in denial? Stop it. The faster you make the wise decision the less injury you will continue to do.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Specialist Regarding Hearing Solutions
There are not any “natural cures” for hearing damage. If hearing loss is extreme, it could be time to purchase a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Evaluation is the First Step
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them seem old. Or they believe they cost too much.
However as soon as they understand that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause various health and relationship issues, it’s simple to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Call a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids nowadays are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you probably think!