Growing up, you probably began to connect hearing loss with getting old. You might have had older adults around you struggling to hear words or utilizing hearing aids.
As you begin to get older, you start to find out that there is a different factor regarding hearing loss apart from aging.
A lot of people are hesitant to admit they have hearing loss because it makes them feel like they are getting old.
It Doesn’t Matter how old you are, you can Still Have Hearing Loss
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists can already identify some amount of hearing loss in 13% of instances. You’ll agree, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 3 decades there has been a 33% rise in teen hearing loss.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds currently have debilitating hearing loss.
The challenge is not with aging. It’s totally possible to avoid, although most people might consider it an aging problem. Substantially reducing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical term for age-related hearing loss, is frequently caused by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was always part of getting old. But thanks to today’s science we know much more concerning hearing loss prevention and even hearing regeneration.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
You need to realize that loud noise is not harmless if you really want to start to protect your hearing.
Sound is made up of waves of pressure. Traveling down into your ear these waves go past your eardrum and into the inner ear.
In the inner ear little hairs resonate. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how regularly these little tiny hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone crying for assistance, a waterfall, or any other sound which might be around.
The problem is that as noises get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The sound shakes them to death.
If these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Hearing Loss Triggered by Loud Noise is Permanent
Countless kinds of damage will be healed by your body. But when you injure these little hair cells, they won’t heal, and they never grow back again. Every time you are exposed to loud noise, a few more of these cells die.
As they die, hearing loss progresses.
Common Noises That Can Cause Hearing Damage
Most people are surprised to find out that everyday activities might be the cause of hearing loss. You may not question:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo up too loud
- Mowing the lawn
- Using farm equipment
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
- Playing music in a band
You don’t have to give up these activities. It is possible to lessen noise associated hearing damage by employing pro-active steps.
How you can Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
You can accept that you suffer from loss of hearing without having to feel older. The longer you neglect it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will wind up feeling older much sooner because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
For people with neglected hearing loss, suffering from one or more of these is significantly more common.
How can you Avoid Continued Hearing Damage?
The first thing you have to do is learn to protect against hearing loss.
- Sound meter apps are readily available for your cellphone that can tell you how loud things are.
- Harmful volumes should be avoided without proper hearing protection. Above 85 dB (decibels) can cause permanent hearing loss in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above will cause immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is around 140 to 170 dB.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing briefly after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. It will become a lot more pronounced over time.
- Wear earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Adhere to work hearing safety procedures.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones which come with built-in volume control. These never go over 90 decibels. You would need to listen practically non-stop all the time to do irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and a few medications can cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be sure, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid when you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much harder to start walking again.
Make a Hearing Exam
Are you putting off on it or are in denial? Stop it. The sooner you make the smart decision the less damage you will continue to do.
Speak to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Answers
There are no “natural cures” for hearing impairment. If you have severe hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Comparison is the First Step
Lots of sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they decide to “tough it out.” They believe that hearing aids will make them feel old. Or maybe they believe they are too expensive.
But as soon as they realize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause many health and relationship difficulties, it’s easy to see that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care specialist now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t be afraid of “feeling old.” Hearing aids nowadays are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you probably think!