The Most Important Thing to Know About Hearing Loss

Woman not letting hearing loss and use of hearing aids stop her from feeling young and playing with her grandkids.

Growing up into adulthood, you most likely started to connect hearing loss with aging. You might have had older adults around you trying to make out conversations or utilizing hearing aids.

As you grow up, you begin to find out that there is an additional factor regarding hearing loss apart from aging.

This is the one thing you should know: acknowledging that you have hearing loss does not make you old.

Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Issue”

Even in pre-teens, audiologists can already identify some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. Obviously, someone who is 12 years old is not “old”. Teenage hearing loss has increased 33% in the past 3 decades.

What are the key factors involved?

2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds presently have disabling hearing loss.

It’s not an aging issue. What you may consider age-associated hearing loss is 100% avoidable. Substantially lessening your hearing loss is within reach.

Age-related hearing loss, identified medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly instigated by loud noise.

For a long time people have thought that hearing loss was always part of getting old. But thanks to modern-day science we know a lot more about hearing loss prevention and even hearing restoration.

How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise

Step one to safeguarding your hearing is learning how something as “innocent” as loud noise causes hearing loss.

Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves travel into your ear canal. They travel all the way down through your eardrum and into your inner ear.

Tiny hair cells resonate here in the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how quickly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can translate this code into conversations, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.

The problem is that when noises become too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. They die because the vibrations are too strong for them to handle.

When these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.

Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Permanent

Lots of types of damage will be healed by your body. These little cells do not heal. When they die, they are lost permanently. Each and every time you are subjected to loud noise, more of these cells die.

Hearing loss advances as they die.

Hearing Damage can be Caused by Everyday Noises

Many people are surprised to discover that routine activities can cause hearing loss. 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
  • Hunting
  • Playing music in a band

It’s not necessary to quit these activities. It is possible to minimize noise induced hearing loss by employing pro-active steps.

You Don’t Have to Feel old Just Because you Have Hearing Loss

If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, accepting it doesn’t have to cause you to feel older. The longer you dismiss it, the worse it will get, and you will wind up feeling older much sooner because of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • Increased Fall Risk
  • Social Isolation
  • More frequent trips to the ER
  • Strained relationships

For people with neglected hearing loss, suffering from one or more of these is significantly more common.

Prevent Further Hearing Injury

Understanding how to protect against hearing loss is the first thing you should do.

  1. Put a sound meter app on your cell phone, and find out how loud things truly can be.
  2. Learn about hazardous volumes. Over 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing damage in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and above results in immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
  3. Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing for a short time following a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. It will get more pronounced over time.
  4. Put on earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
  5. Follow work hearing protection procedures.
  6. Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
  7. Refrain from standing near to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
  8. Get earbuds/headphones that have built-in volume control. These don’t go over 90 decibels. You would have to listen nearly non-stop all day to cause irreversible damage.
  9. High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and several medications tend to make you more susceptible at lower volumes. To be certain, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers differ.
  10. Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid if you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s the same as your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.

Make an Appointment With a Hearing Expert

Are you putting off on it or are in denial? Make the right choice sooner than later. The faster you make the wise choice the less damage you will keep doing.

Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Answers

There are not any “natural cures” for hearing damage. If hearing loss is extreme, it could be time to invest in a hearing aid.

Do a Cost-Benefit Assessment of Hearing Aids

Many people are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they make the decision to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them feel old. Or perhaps they believe they cost too much.

However as soon as they realize that hearing loss will deteriorate faster and can cause numerous health and personal issues, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.

Talk to a hearing care expert now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids at present are much sleeker and more advanced than you may think!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.