Growing up into adulthood, you probably started to associate hearing loss with aging. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
When you’re young, getting old seems so far away but as time goes by you begin to recognize that hearing loss is about much 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 a Condition That Can Take Place at Any Age
By the age of 12, audiologists can already see some hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. Teen hearing loss has risen 33% in the last 30 years.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from disabling hearing loss.
It isn’t an aging issue. You can 100% avoid what is generally thought of as “age related hearing loss”. And decreasing its progression is well within your ability.
Age-related hearing loss, known medically sensorineural hearing loss, is typically caused by noise.
For generations hearing loss was assumed to be inevitable as you get older. But nowadays, science understands more about how to safeguard your hearing and even repair it.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Noise
The first step to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “harmless” as noise results in hearing loss.
Waves are what sound is made of. Your ear canal receives these waves. They progress past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, small hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations then encode a mental signal. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But these hairs can move with too much intensity when the inner ear gets sound that is too intense. The sound vibrates them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Why Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds like cuts or broken bones heal. But these little hair cells don’t grow back or heal. Over time, as you expose your ears to loud sounds, more and more of these hairs die.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Many people are shocked to discover that common activities can cause hearing loss. These things may seem completely harmless:
- Turning the car stereo way up
- Lawn mowing
- Running farm equipment
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Going to a movie/play/concert
- Playing in a band
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Using head phones/earbuds
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
You can continue to do these things. Luckily, you can reduce noise induced hearing loss by taking some preventative measures.
How to be Certain That You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
Acknowledging that you have hearing loss, if you’re already dealing with it, doesn’t have to make you feel old. The truth is, failing to accept it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in just a few years like:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- Strained relationships
- More frequent trips to the ER
For individuals with neglected hearing loss these are much more common.
Prevent Further Hearing Injury
Start by learning how to prevent hearing loss.
- In order to figure out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Be familiar with harmful levels. Over 85 dB (decibels) can result in irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. Lasting hearing loss, at 110 dB, takes place in about 15 minutes. 120 dB and over brings about instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Understand that you’ve already triggered 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-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- When it comes to hearing protection, implement any guidelines that apply to your circumstance.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any setting.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have built in volume control. They never go above 90 dB. 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 could still be in peril. To be safe, never listen on headphones at above 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 need it. It’s a lot like your leg muscles. If you let them go, it will be tough to get them back.
Have a Hearing Examination
Are you in denial or just putting things off? Don’t do it. You have to accept your hearing loss so that you will be proactive to minimize further damage.
Talk to Your Hearing Specialist About Hearing Solutions
There aren’t any “natural cures” for hearing impairment. It could be time to invest in a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Do a Cost-Benefit Comparison of Investing in Hearing Aids
Lots of individuals are either in denial about hearing loss, or they choose to “just deal with”. They believe that hearing aids make them seem old. Or they are worried that they won’t be able to afford them.
It’s easy to recognize, however, that when the negative effect on health and relationships will cost more in the long run.
Schedule a hearing test with a hearing specialist. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t worry about “feeling old”. Modern hearing aids are sophisticated and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.