As we age we tend to think that hearing loss only has an effect on the older generation. Almost all of us have had experience with older people attempting to comprehend conversations, or using hearing aids.
As you become more mature, you start to learn that there is a different factor regarding hearing loss other than aging.
Most people are afraid to admit they suffer from hearing loss because it causes them to feel old.
Hearing Loss Is an “Any Age Problem”
Even before we turn 13, audiologists already begin to diagnose some amount of hearing loss in 13% of cases. You’ll recognize, this is not because 12-year-olds are “old”. In the past 30 years there has been a 33% increase in teen hearing loss.
What are the key factors involved?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds already have debilitating hearing loss.
It’s not an aging problem. It’s 100% possible to avoid, although most people might consider it an aging problem. Considerably minimizing your hearing loss is within reach.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical term for age-related hearing loss, is generally brought on by loud noise.
For ages hearing loss was believed to be inevitable as you age. However thanks to today’s science we know a lot more concerning hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
Step one to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “innocent” as noise causes hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves of pressure. Going down into your ear these waves go beyond your eardrum and into the inner ear.
Here, tiny hair cells in your inner ear vibrate. A neurological code is made up of how fast and how frequently these little tiny hairs vibrate. This code will be translated by your brain into the sound of crickets, someone crying for assistance, a jet plane, or any other sound which might be near you.
The problem is that as noises get too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. The sound shakes them until they die.
If you don’t have them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Related Hearing Loss is Permanent
Various kinds of damage can be healed by your body. But when you harm these little hair cells, they don’t heal, and they will not grow back. Every time you are subjected to loud noise, a few more of these cells die.
Hearing loss progresses as they die.
Common Sounds Which Cause Hearing Damage
Most people are surprised to discover that everyday activities can cause hearing loss. It’s very easy to overlook:
- 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 manufacturing plant or other loud profession
- Playing music in a band
It’s not necessary to quit these activities. Fortunately, you can take practical steps to reduce noise-related hearing loss.
How you can Keep Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” old
If you’re already suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t need to cause you to feel older. The longer you disregard it, the worse it’s going to get, and you will end up feeling older much sooner because of:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
It’s significantly more common for people with untreated hearing loss to have problems with one or more of these.
How can you Avoid Continued Hearing Damage?
The first thing you have to do is learn how to to avoid hearing loss.
- Put a sound meter app on your phone, and find out how loud things truly can be.
- Harmful volumes should be avoided without the proper ear protection. More than 85 dB (decibels) will cause permanent hearing loss in just 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above results in immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- Know that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing temporarily after a concert, you already caused permanent damage to your hearing. Over time it will become worse.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when necessary.
- Observe workplace hearing safety policies.
- Minimize your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Steer clear of standing in close proximity to loudspeakers or cranking speakers up when at home.
- Invest in earbuds/headphones that come with built-in volume control. These never go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to cause permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and some medications can cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be certain, never listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid when you actually need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s the same as your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to start walking again.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Make the right choice now rather than later. The faster you make the wise decision the less damage you will continue to do.
Speak to Your Hearing Professional Concerning Hearing Solutions
There are no “normal cures” for hearing impairment. If you have serious hearing loss, it’s time for a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hearing Aids
Lots of people are either in denial about hearing loss, or maybe, they choose to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids make them seem old. Or they believe that they cost too much.
But as soon as they realize that hearing loss will decline faster and can cause various health and personal complications, it’s simple to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care expert now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are needed, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids at present are much more streamlined and more sophisticated than you probably think!