As you got older, you probably began to associate hearing loss with aging. You likely had older adults in your life struggling to understand words or wearing hearing aids.
But in the same way as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it started to catch up to you, as you become more aware about hearing loss, you realize that it has less to do with the aging process and much more to do with something else.
You need to realize this one thing: Acknowledging that you have hearing loss doesn’t mean that you’re old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Problem”
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already detect hearing loss by age 12. Needless to say, you aren’t “old” when you’re 12. In the last 30 years, hearing loss among teenagers has risen by 33 %.
What’s the reason for this?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from debilitating hearing loss.
It’s not an aging problem. You can 100% prevent what is commonly 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 most frequently caused by noise.
Hearing loss was, for years, considered to be an inescapable part of aging. But safeguarding and even repairing your hearing is well within the grasp of modern science.
How Noise Leads to Hearing Loss
Understanding how noise results in hearing loss is the first step in safeguarding hearing.
Sound is made up of waves. These waves travel into your ear canal. They progress down past your eardrum into your inner ear.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. What hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, becomes a neurological code. Your brain then translates this code into sound.
But these hairs can move with too much intensity when the inner ear receives sound that is too intense. The sound shakes them to death.
when they’re gone, you won’t be able to hear.
Noise-Activated Hearing Loss is Permanent, Here’s Why
If you cut yourself, the wound heals. But these little hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more tiny hair cells fail.
As they do, hearing loss worsens.
every day Noises That Damage Hearing
Most people don’t recognize that hearing loss can be caused by every day noises. These things might seem completely harmless:
- Putting the windows or top down on a busy highway
- Using farm equipment
- Riding a snowmobile/motorcycle
- Being a musician
- Going to a noisy workplace
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Lawn mowing
- Turning the car stereo way up
- attending a concert/play/movies
You can keep doing these things. Thankfully, you can take protective steps to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” Older
Admitting you have hearing loss, if you already suffer from it, doesn’t need to make you feel old. The truth is, failing to acknowledge it can doom you to faster advancement and complications that “will” make you feel a lot older in just a few years like:
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
These are all considerably more common in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Stop Further Hearing Damage
Get started by knowing how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things actually are, get a sound meter app.
- Determine when volumes get dangerous. In less than 8 hours, permanent damage can be caused by volumes above 85dB. Lasting hearing loss, at 110 dB, occurs in over 15 minutes. 120 dB and over causes immediate hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Recognize that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing temporarily after going to a concert, you’ve already caused lasting damage to your hearing. It will become more obvious over time.
- When it’s necessary, wear earplugs or earmuffs.
- Implement work hearing protection rules.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Standing too close to loudspeakers is a poor idea in any situation.
- Some headphones and earbuds have built in volume control for a less dangerous listening experience. They have a 90 dB upper limit. Most people would need to listen nearly non-stop all day to trigger irreversible damage.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more susceptible at lower levels. Always keep your headphones at or below 50%. Car speakers will vary and a volume meter app will help but when it comes to headphones, 50% or less is best policy.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not wearing hearing aids when you need them results in brain atrophy. It works the same way as your muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to begin again.
Make an Appointment to Have a Hearing Test
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 damage.
Consult Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing.
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. It may be time to get a hearing aid if your hearing loss is severe.
Compare The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Many people are either in denial concerning hearing loss, or they choose to “just deal with”. They don’t want people to think they look old because they wear hearing aids. Or they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they realize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause numerous relationship and health challenges, it’s easy to see that the pros well outnumber the cons.
Speak with a hearing care specialist right away about getting a hearing exam. And you don’t need to be concerned that you look old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Hearing aids today are a lot sleeker and more advanced than you may believe!