As you got older, you likely began to associate hearing loss with getting old. Older adults around you were probably wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear.
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 understand this one thing: Admitting that you have hearing loss doesn’t make you old.
Hearing Loss is an “Any Age Issue”
In 13% of cases, audiologists can already notice hearing loss by the age of 12. You’ll agree, this isn’t because a 12 year old is “old”. In the past 30 years, hearing loss in teenagers has gone up by 33 %.
What’s at work here?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64 year-olds already suffer from debilitating hearing loss.
Aging isn’t the problem. What you probably consider an age-related hearing loss is 100% preventable. And decreasing its progression is well within your power.
Age-related hearing loss, scientifically known as sensorineural hearing loss, is most frequently a result of noise.
Hearing loss was, for decades, thought to be an inevitable part of aging. But nowadays, science understands more about how to safeguard your hearing and even restore it.
How Noise Leads to Hearing Loss
The first step to protecting your hearing is understanding how something as “innocuous” as noise results in hearing loss.
Sound is composed of waves. These waves travel into your ear canal. They arrive at your inner ear after passing your eardrum.
Here, little hair cells in your inner ear oscillate. The intensity and speed of these vibrations will then encode a neurological 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. This level of sound destroys these hairs and they will eventually stop working.
Without them, you can’t hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Wounds such as cuts or broken bones heal. But these tiny hair cells don’t grow back or heal. The more often you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more little hair cells fail.
Hearing loss worsens as they do.
Hearing Damage Can be Caused by These Common Noises
Many people are surprised to learn that every day activities can cause hearing loss. You might not think twice about:
- Turning up the car stereo
- Riding a motorcycle/snowmobile
- Lawn mowing
- Driving on a busy highway with the windows or top down
- Wearing head phones/earbuds
- Going to a concert/play/movies
- Running farm equipment
- Playing in a band
- Working in a factory or other loud profession
You don’t have to give up these things. Luckily, you can take proactive actions to reduce noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Make Sure You Don’t “Feel” Older When You Have Hearing Loss
If you’re currently suffering from hearing loss, admitting it doesn’t have to make you feel older. Actually, you will feel older a lot sooner if you fail to acknowledge your hearing loss because of complications like:
- Strained relationships
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
For people with neglected hearing loss these are a lot more common.
Ways You Can Avoid Further Hearing Damage
Get started by knowing how to prevent hearing loss.
- So that you can figure out how loud things really are, get a sound meter app.
- Know about harmful volumes. In less than 8 hours, irreversible damage can be caused by volumes above 85dB. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and above will cause instantaneous hearing loss. 140 to 170 dB is the average level of a gunshot.
- Know that If you’ve ever had difficulty hearing temporarily after a concert, you’ve already caused permanent damage to your hearing. The more often it happens, the worse it gets.
- When it’s required, wear earmuffs and/or earplugs
- Respect work hearing protection rules.
- If you have to be exposed to loud sounds, restrict your exposure time.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or cranking up speakers at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have integrated volume control. They have a 90 dB limit. At that level, even nonstop, all day listening wouldn’t cause hearing damage for most people.
- Some medications, low blood oxygen, and even high blood pressure can make you more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be safe, you should never listen on headphones at over 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Wear your hearing aid. The brain will start to atrophy if you don’t use your hearing aid when you need it. It works the same as your muscles. If you stop making use of them, it will be hard to start again.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you putting things off or in denial? Don’t do it. Be proactive about reducing further damage by recognizing your circumstance.
Consult With Your Hearing Specialist About Solutions For Your Hearing Loss.
Hearing impairment does not have any “natural cure”. If hearing loss is severe, it could be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Compare The Cost of Investing in Hearing Aids to The Advantages
Many people who do recognize their hearing loss just decide to cope with it. They don’t want people to think they look old because they have hearing aids. Or they are worried that they won’t be able to afford them.
But when they comprehend that hearing loss will get worse faster and can cause many health and relationship complications, it’s easy to recognize that the pros well surpass the cons.
Consult a hearing care specialist today about having a hearing test. And you don’t need to worry that you appear old if you end up requiring hearing aids. Present day hearing aids are stylish and state-of-the-art pieces of modern technology.