As you got older, you likely began to connect hearing loss with aging. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
In your youth, getting old seems so distant but as time goes by you start to recognize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
You need to realize this one thing: It doesn’t make you old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is a Condition That Can Happen at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by age 12. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. Teenage hearing loss has risen 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s at work here?
Debilitating 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 issue. You can 100% prevent what is typically considered “age related hearing loss”. And you have the ability to significantly reduce its progression.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is typically caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for many years, assumed to be an inescapable part of aging. But these days, science knows more about how to safeguard your hearing and even repair it.
How Noise Causes Hearing Loss
Recognizing how noise causes hearing loss is step one in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves go into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
In your inner ear are tiny hair cells which oscillate when sound strikes them. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, becomes a signal in the brain. Your brain can convert this code into words, rushing water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you might hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too intense, these hair cells vibrate too quickly. The sound shakes them to death.
When these hairs are gone you can no longer hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
Wounds like cuts or broken bones will heal. But when you damage these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they cannot grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more little hair cells die.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Most people don’t know that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. You may not think twice about:
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Using farm equipment
- Lawn mowing
- Using earbuds/head phones
- Turning up the car stereo
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Playing in a band
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. In fact, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster progression and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in just a few years like:
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
For individuals with neglected hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Stop Further Hearing Injury
Begin by knowing how to avoid hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things actually are, download a sound meter app.
- Learn about dangerous levels. In under 8 hours, irreversible hearing loss can be caused by volumes above 85dB. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause lasting hearing loss. 120 dB and above brings about instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Understand that you’ve already caused permanent hearing damage every time you’ve had a hard time hearing right after going to a concert. It will become more obvious over time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when appropriate.
- When dealing with hearing protection, adhere to any safeguards that apply to your situation.
- If you need to be exposed to loud sounds, limit your exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a safer listening experience. They have a 90 dB limit. At that level, even constant, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of individuals.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more susceptible at lower volumes. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, wear it. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t wear your hearing aid when you require it. It works the same way as your muscles. If you let them go, it will be tough to get them back.
Make an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Don’t do it. You have to accept your hearing loss so that you will take measures to reduce further damage.
Contact Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
There aren’t any “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to get a hearing aid.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Getting Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of people are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they decide to “just deal with”. They think hearing aids make them look old. Or they are worried that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they recognize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous health and relationship complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Schedule a hearing exam with a hearing specialist. And you don’t have to be concerned that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Hearing aids today are significantly sleeker and more sophisticated than you may think!