The Number one Concern to be Aware of Regarding Hearing Loss
Early in life, you probably began to associate hearing loss with old age. You most likely had older adults around you struggling to understand words or using hearing aids.
But just as 30 or 60 only seemed old to you until it rapidly drew near, as you learn more regarding hearing loss, you find out that it has less to do with old age and a lot more to do with something else.
Feeling old is the number one reason many people won’t admit they have hearing loss.
You can Begin Loosing Your Hearing Even When Your Younger
Even before we turn 13, hearing specialists can already detect some hearing loss in 13% of instances. Clearly, a person who is 12 is not “old”. Teenage hearing loss has gone up 33% in the past 30 years.
What are the key factors involved?
2% of 45 – 55-year-olds and 8% of 55 – 64-year-olds presently have disabling hearing loss.
It’s not an aging problem. What you might think of as age-related hearing loss is actually totally avoidable. Dramatically reducing your hearing loss is very achievable.
Sensorineural hearing loss, which is the medical terminology for age-related hearing loss, is in most cases induced by by loud noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was always part of aging. But thanks to modern science we know substantially more about hearing loss prevention and also hearing regeneration.
How Hearing Loss is Caused by Loud Noise
Step one to safeguarding your ears is understanding how something as “innocent” as noise can cause hearing loss.
Sound is made up of waves of pressure. These waves go into your ear canal. They move all the way down past your eardrum and into your inner ear.
Within the inner ear little hairs vibrate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how fast or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can render this code into the sound of peoples voices, traffic sounds, a car horn, a cry for help or anything else you might hear.
The trouble is that when sounds become too loud these little hairs are injured beyond repair. They die because the vibrations are too strong for them to handle.
Without them, you can not hear.
Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is Permanent
Many types of injury can be healed by your body. But when you damage these little hair cells, they cannot heal, and they cannot ever come back. The more you’re exposed to loud sounds, the more tiny cells you lose.
As they die, hearing loss advances.
Everyday Sounds That Cause Hearing Damage
This is a shocking thing for most people to find out. It’s easy to overlook:
- Going to a concert/play/movie
- Wearing earbuds/head phones
- Turning the car stereo way up
- 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
- Being a musician
These activities don’t need to be abandoned. Luckily, you can take practical steps to minimize noise-induced hearing loss.
How to Stop Hearing Loss From Making You “Feel” old
You can accept that you suffer from hearing loss without feeling older. Actually, failing to recognize it can doom you to faster development and complications that will definitely make you feel a lot older in only a few years including:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
These are all significantly more common in people with neglected hearing loss.
How can you Stop Continued Hearing Damage?
The first step is to learn to prevent hearing loss.
- Put a sound meter app on your cell phone, and find out how loud common sounds actually are.
- Learn about hazardous volumes. Above 85 dB (decibels) will cause irreversible hearing loss in only 8 hours. 110 dB takes around 15 minutes to cause permanent hearing loss. 120 dB and higher causes instant hearing loss. A gunshot is 140 to 170 dB.
- You should know that you have already caused hearing damage if you have had a hard time hearing, or if your ears were ringing, after a concert. Over time it will become worse.
- Wear earplugs or maybe sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Comply with workplace hearing safety regulations.
- Limit your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing near to loudspeakers or turning speakers up when at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones that have built-in volume control. They don’t go over 90 decibels. Most people would need to listen pretty much non-stop all the time to cause irreversible damage.
- High blood pressure, low blood oxygen, and a few medications tend to cause you to be more susceptible at lower volumes. To be sure, never listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not wearing a hearing aid if you need them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s similar to your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it will be much more difficult to walk.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you in denial or procrastinating on it? Stop it. The faster you make the smart choice the less injury you will keep doing.
Talk to Your Hearing Professional About Hearing Solutions
There are no “natural cures” for hearing loss. If hearing loss is extreme, it could be time to invest in a hearing aid.
Do a Cost-Benefit Evaluation of Hearing Aids
Lots of sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they decide to “tough it out.” They presume hearing aids will make them appear old. Or they believe they are too expensive.
But as soon as they recognize that hearing loss will worsen faster and can cause several health and relationship difficulties, it’s easy to see that the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care expert now about getting a hearing evaluation. And if hearing aids are recommended, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more advanced than you probably think!