When we think of hearing loss who comes to mind? If you are under the age of 35, it’s a safe bet to say it wouldn’t be you or your peers. Unfortunately, with the advent of audiovisual applications and gadgets from music to videos to audiobooks and podcasts on portable devices, we are plugged in 24/7.
We use this as a way to block out the environment we are in, to escape, to learn, to do our work on the go and to block out sounds we don’t like. The costs of these practices cause irreparable damage to the health of our hearing.
Hearing loss is not an age-specific condition
It is estimated that by 2050, 1.1 billion people between the ages 12 to 35 will be at risk for hearing loss. In other words, 1.1 billion people will have exposed themselves to dangerously high levels of sounds through their recreational activities and will be vulnerable to hearing impairment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a safe range of sounds is 30 to 80 decibels (a measurement of sound). These would be exemplified by the likes of a slight whisper to the hum of a refrigerator to a normal conversation. Listening to your audio player at 70% volume is equal to 85 decibels. Get into the levels of everyday traffic and you are now in risk range at and climbing higher as you attend a concert or symphony clocking in at an average of 110 decibels, with the utmost damage being within earshot of firearms or firecrackers delivering 140 to 165 decibels. Exposure to 100 decibels for longer than 15 minutes and you are open to permanent damage.
Even at lower decibel ranges the longer the exposure the longer the risk
Denial is no longer acceptable
Have you been constantly asking people to repeat what they are saying? Is it harder to hear conversations in crowded places with loud music in the background? Are you turning up the volume of everything to the dislike of others and or to the detriment of your ears?
The impact on a person’s social and emotional life are difficult to quantify. Often it is only when it is too late and withdrawal from social activities leads to feelings of isolation or fraught with misadventures when engaging in conversation. A wonderful, short article called” My Ridiculous, Romantic, Painful Adventures in Deafness” by Anna Pulley is suggested reading, as you can accompany a thirty-something woman on her journey of discovery and struggle with hearing loss in the “normal” hearing world.
Here is an excerpt:
“You have a seductive face,” she says. I crane my head slightly back to look at her mouth, and say, “I have a duck face?”
Millennials and Gen Xers are known to wait a minimum of five years before they get a hearing assessment. The longer the wait the worse the degradation of your hearing capacity. This also puts one at a disadvantage when speaking on the phone or walking down the street as sounds also warn us of potentially dangerous situations.
It is also a perilous situation to suffer hearing loss at work as it slows down our productivity and creates problems when dealing with specifics. Hearing loss at a certain stage is irreversible.
Yes, hearing loss affects your brain
Aside from the negative effect, it has on your life it actually disturbs processes of your brain. Cognitive activity and impairment are associated with hearing loss which causes the other is unknown, but the correlation had been confirmed by medical research.
If your hearing loss is left untreated the messages your brain receives continues to deteriorate and the neural pathways it depends upon to translate and relay sound degrades. The longer this continues the more severe the effect and the less effective the treatments that otherwise early detection and assessments can provide.
Early detection and treatment of hearing impairment have a profound and positive effect on our cognitive functions, especially with regards to our memory!
Embrace technology and adorn yourself
Hearing loss is recognized now as an affliction that is not reserved for the older generation and with education and increased public awareness and advocacy no longer carries the negative stereotypes once associated with it. If you struggle with hearing, now’s the time to schedule a hearing test and seek treatment.
Audio Advantage Hearing Aid Center
Audio Advantage Hearing Aid Center is here to assist you on your path to better your hearing! If you or someone you are close have any concerns, we are just a phone call away. Bring a friend to your first appointment if it helps. We would love to see you for your first assessment and investment in your fuller, richer hearing health.