As you got older, you likely began to connect hearing loss with getting old. Older adults in your life were probably wearing hearing aids or having a difficult time hearing.
When you’re young, getting old seems so distant but as time passes you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about much more than aging.
This is the one thing you should know: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
By the age of 12, audiologists can already identify some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teenage hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 30 years.
What’s the reason for this?
Debilitating hearing loss has already set in for 2% of people between the ages of 45 and 55 and 8% of people between the ages of 55 and 64.
Aging isn’t the problem. What you probably think of as age-related hearing loss is 100% avoidable. And you have the ability to significantly reduce its progression.
Age-associated hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently caused by noise.
For decades hearing loss was believed to be inevitable as you age. But these days, science understands more about how to protect your hearing and even restore it.
How Hearing Loss is Triggered by Noise
Step one to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “innocuous” as noise results in hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is made of. Your ear canal receives these waves. They go down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations will then encode a neurological signal. Your brain then converts this code into sound.
But these hairs can vibrate with too much force when the inner ear receives sound that is too intense. The sound shakes them to death.
Without them, you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
If you cut your hand, the wound heals. But these tiny hair cells won’t heal or grow back. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more little hair cells fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
every day Noises That Cause Hearing Damage
Most people don’t know that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Running farm equipment
- Cranking up the car stereo
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Being a musician
- Mowing the lawn
- Going to a concert/play/movies
You can keep on doing these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some protective measures.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. As a matter of fact, you will feel older much sooner if you fail to acknowledge your hearing loss because of complications like:
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Social Isolation
- Increased Fall Risk
- Strained relationships
These are all significantly more common in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Ways You Can Avoid Further Hearing Damage
Start by understanding how to prevent hearing loss.
- Download a sound meter app on your smartphone. Learn how loud things actually are.
- Find out when volumes become hazardous. Above 85 dB (decibels) can lead to permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. Permanent hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in about 15 minutes. Instant hearing loss takes place at 120dB or higher. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Know that If you’ve ever had trouble hearing temporarily after a concert, you’ve already induced lasting damage to your hearing. It will become more severe with time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-canceling earmuffs when necessary.
- Follow work hearing protection rules.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have on-board volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They never go above 90 dB. Most people would need to listen almost non-stop all day to trigger irreversible damage.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be safe, you should never listen on headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them leads to brain atrophy. It works the same way as the muscles in your body. If you stop using them, it will be hard to begin again.
Get a Hearing Examination
Are you in denial or just putting things off? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further harm by recognizing your situation.
Consult With Your Hearing Professional About Solutions For Your Hearing.
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Do a Comparison of The Cost of Buying Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Lots of people who do recognize their hearing loss just decide to cope with it. They think hearing aids make them seem old. Or they assume that they cost too much.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause many relationship and health challenges, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing specialist. And you don’t need to worry that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Hearing aids at present are significantly sleeker and more advanced than you may think!