When you were younger, you probably thought of hearing loss as a result of getting old. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
In your youth, getting old seems so far away but as time goes by you begin to realize that hearing loss is about far more than aging.
This is the one thing you should know: It doesn’t make you old just because you acknowledge you have hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is an Ailment That Can Take Place at Any Age
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already see hearing loss by the age of 12. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. Teen hearing loss has increased 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s the cause of this?
Disabling hearing loss has already set in for 2% of individuals between the ages of 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the issue. What you may think of as age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And you have the power to dramatically reduce its progression.
Noise exposure is the typical cause of age associated or “sensorineural” hearing loss.
For generations hearing loss was thought to be inevitable as you age. But protecting and even restoring your hearing is well within the scope of modern science.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
Learning how noise causes hearing loss is the first step in protecting hearing.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves travel into your ear canal. They reach your inner ear after going past your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations will then encode a neurological signal. Your brain is able to convert this code into words, running water, a car horn, a cry or anything else you may hear.
But when the inner ear is exposed to sounds that are too loud, these hair cells oscillate too fast. The sound shakes them to death.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
If you cut yourself, the cut heals. But these little hair cells won’t heal or grow back. Over time, as you subject your ears to loud noise, more and more of these hairs fail.
As they do, hearing loss progresses.
Common Noises That Damage Hearing
Most people don’t realize that hearing loss can be caused by noise we hear every day. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Turning up the car stereo
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Using farm equipment
- Playing in a band
- Mowing the lawn
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can take protective measures to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Old
If you’re already suffering from loss of hearing, admitting it doesn’t have to make you feel old. The fact is, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster development and complications that “will” make you feel much older in only a few years like:
- Social Isolation
- Increased Fall Risk
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
These are all considerably more common in those with neglected hearing loss.
Ways You Can Prevent Additional Hearing Problems
Get started by learning how to prevent hearing loss.
- In order to figure out how loud things really are, download a sound meter app.
- Determine when volumes become dangerous. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause lasting hearing loss. Immediate hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. 140 to 170 dB is the average volume of a gunshot.
- Understand that you’ve already triggered permanent hearing damage every time you’ve had a difficult time hearing right after going to a concert. The more often it occurs, the worse it will become.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- If you have to be exposed to loud sounds, limit your exposure time.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They have a 90 dB upper limit. At that volume, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for the majority of individuals.
- Even at lower levels, if you have low blood oxygen, high blood pressure, or are taking some common medication, you’re hearing may still be in peril. Always keep your headphones at 50% or less. Car speakers vary.
- If you have a hearing aid, use it. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It works the same as the muscles in your body. If you stop using them, it will be hard to start again.
Get a Hearing Examination
Are you procrastinating or in denial? Don’t do it. You need to acknowledge your hearing loss so that you will take measures to reduce further harm.
Talk to Us About Hearing Solutions
Hearing loss has no “natural cure”. If hearing loss is extreme, it may be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Comparison of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals who do acknowledge their hearing loss simply decide to deal with it. They believe that hearing aids make them look old. Or they think that they cost too much.
But when they realize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause many relationship and health challenges, it’s easy to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Consult us today about having a hearing exam. And you don’t have to be concerned that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and advanced pieces of modern technology.