As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only affects older people. Almost all of us have had past experiences with older people struggling to comprehend words and phrases, or wearing hearing aids.
But just as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it fast approached, when you discover more concerning hearing loss, you find out that it has less to do with aging and much more to do with something else entirely.
This is the most important thing to know: Admitting that you have hearing loss will not make you old.
You can Start Losing Your Hearing even when your younger
Even in pre-teens, hearing specialists can already detect some amount of hearing loss in 13% of instances. You’ll agree, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 30 years there has been a 33% increase in teenage hearing loss.
What’s going on here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds currently have debilitating hearing loss.
It’s not an aging issue. What you may consider age-related hearing loss is actually 100% preventable. And you have the power to drastically lessen the advancement of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, known medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly brought on by loud noise.
For decades hearing loss was believed to be unavoidable as you age. But thanks to cutting-edge science we know a great deal more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing restoration.
The Reason why Loud Noise Causes Hearing loss
The first step to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “innocent” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. Traveling down into your ear these waves go beyond your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Tiny hair cells vibrate here within the inner ear. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of traffic, someone screaming for assistance, a jet plane, or any other sound which might be around you.
The issue is that when sounds are too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. The noise shakes them until they die.
If you don’t have them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Irreversible
Lots of kinds of damage will be healed by your body. But when you injure these tiny hair cells, they won’t heal, and they cannot ever grow back again. Each and every time you are subjected to loud sound, a few more of these cells are lost for ever.
Hearing loss advances as they die.
Hearing Injury can be Caused by Common Noises
This is a unexpected thing for most people to find out. 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 manufacturing plant or other loud industry
- Being a musician
It’s not necessary to quit these activities. It is possible to lessen noise induced hearing loss by taking pro-active steps.
You Don’t Need to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it does not have to cause you to feel older. The longer you neglect it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will wind up feeling older much earlier because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
These are all considerably more prevalent in people with untreated hearing loss.
How can you Avoid Continued Hearing Damage?
Learning how to avoid hearing loss is the first step.
- Determine how loud things really are by getting a sound meter app on your smart-phone.
- Harmful volumes should be avoided without the proper ear protection. Above 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and above will cause instant hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that you have already caused hearing damage if you have had a hard time hearing, or if your ears were ringing, after a concert. It will get more pronounced over time.
- Put on earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Follow workplace hearing safety procedures.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up at home.
- Purchase earbuds/headphones which come with integrated volume control. They don’t go higher 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen practically non-stop all day to do permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and several medications tend to make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be sure, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Use your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid if you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s much like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or putting off on it? Stop it. You need to know so you can become proactive to decrease further damage.
Have a talk with Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Answers
There are not any “natural cures” for hearing loss. If you have extreme hearing loss, it’s time to get a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Assessment 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 feel old. Or they think they cost too much.
However when they recognize that hearing loss will become worse faster and can cause many health and personal complications, it’s easy to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Consult a hearing care expert today about getting a hearing examination. And if hearing aids are advisable, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more advanced than you may think!