The Number one Thing to Know About Hearing Loss
As we get older we tend to think that hearing loss only affects people of advanced age. You may have had older adults around you trying to hear conversations or wearing hearing aids.
But much like 30 or 60 only seemed old to you up until it quickly approached, as you learn more regarding hearing loss, you find that it has less to do with aging and far more to do with something else.
Feeling old is the leading reason many people can’t admit they have hearing loss.
It Doesn’t Matter What Your age is, you can Still get Hearing Loss
Even in pre-teens, audiologists can already detect some hearing loss in 13% of instances. You’ll recognize, this isn’t because 12-year-olds are “old”. Within 30 years we have seen a 33% rise 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 issue. What you might consider age-related hearing loss is actually 100% preventable. And you have the ability to significantly lessen the development of your hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, referred to medically as sensorineural hearing loss, is most commonly caused by noise.
For a long time people have assumed that hearing loss was always part of getting old. But today, scientists know more concerning how to take care of your hearing and also restore it.
How Loud Noise Causes Hearing Loss
The first step to safeguarding your hearing is recognizing how something as “innocent” as noise causes hearing loss.
Waves of pressure are what makeup sound. These waves travel into your ear canal. They travel downward beyond your eardrum into your inner ear.
Within the inner ear little hairs resonate. Which hair cells vibrate, and how rapidly or frequently they vibrate, become a neurological code. Your brain can interpret this code into conversations, rushing water, a warning alert, a cry or anything else you may hear.
The trouble is that when sounds become too loud these little hairs are damaged beyond repair. They die because the vibrations become too loud for them to handle.
When these hairs are gone then so is your hearing.
Hearing Loss Caused by Loud Noise is not Reversible
Various kinds of damage will be healed by your body. These little cells do not heal. When they die, they are gone forever. Every time you are subjected to loud noise, more of these cells are lost for ever.
As they die, hearing loss progresses.
Hearing Injury is Caused by Common Sounds
This is a surprising thing for most people to learn. You might not question:
- 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 factory or other loud industry
- Playing music in a band
These activities don’t need to be given up. It is possible to reduce noise related hearing damage by taking pro-active measures.
You Don’t Have to Feel old Simply Because you Have Hearing Loss
You can accept that you suffer from hearing loss without having to feel old. In reality, failing to recognize it can doom you to faster progression and problems that will certainly cause you to you feel much older in only a few years including:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Social Isolation
- More frequent trips to the ER
- Strained relationships
It’s significantly more common for people with neglected hearing loss to be dealing with one or more of these.
Avoid Further Hearing Damage
Understanding how to protect against hearing loss is the first thing you should do.
- Put a sound meter app on your smart-phone, and find out how loud things actually are.
- Hazardous volumes should be avoided without proper hearing protection. Over 85 dB (decibels) can cause irreversible hearing loss in 8 hours. 110 dB takes about 15 minutes to cause irreversible hearing loss. 120 dB and above causes immediate hearing loss. A gunshot is around 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. It will become more obvious as time goes by.
- Use earplugs and/or sound-dampening earmuffs when appropriate.
- Comply with work hearing protection regulations.
- Regulate your exposure time to loud sounds.
- Avoid standing close to loudspeakers or turning speakers up at home.
- Get earbuds/headphones which have built-in volume control. These don’t go higher 90 decibels. Most people would have to listen practically non-stop all day to do permanent damage.
- High blood pressure, not enough blood oxygen, and various medications can cause you to be more vulnerable at lower volumes. To be safe, don’t ever listen to headphones at above 50%. Car speakers vary.
- Put on your hearing aid. Not using a hearing aid if you require them causes the brain to atrophy. It’s much like your leg muscles. If you stop walking, it gets much harder to start walking again.
Get a Hearing Test
Are you procrastinating or are in denial? Stop it. You need to know so you can become proactive to minimize further damage.
Speak to Your Hearing Professional Regarding Hearing Solutions
There are not any “normal cures” for hearing damage. If hearing loss is severe, it may be time to buy a hearing aid.
A Cost-Benefits Assessment is the First Step
Lots of sufferers are either in denial about hearing loss, or, they decide to “tough it out.” They believe that hearing aids will make them feel old. Or they think they are too expensive.
However when they understand that hearing loss will become worse faster and can cause various health and personal problems, it’s simple to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.
Talk to a hearing care professional today about getting a hearing test. And if hearing aids are suggested, don’t worry about “feeling old.” Hearing aids these days are much more streamlined and more advanced than you may think!