Hearing loss affects at least 466 million people worldwide or 6.1% of the world’s total population. With numbers this high, it is more than likely that you will be put at risk or develop hearing loss at some point in your life. The more informed you can be on the risks and treatments for hearing loss, the easier it can be to make wise decisions concerning your hearing health and quality of life. Here are a few major misconceptions that are important to be set straight.
Fiction: Hearing loss only affects the elderly
Fact: Age related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss affecting one in three people over the age of 65 and half of those over 75. Even so 40% of people with hearing loss in the US are under the age of 60. There are many other causes of hearing loss that can put your ears at risk no matter your age. Some people are born with hearing loss, while others develop it over a lifetime exposed to loud sounds. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Diseases (NIDCD) estimates that 26 million Americans suffer from hearing loss due to dangerous noise levels in the workplace.
Others damage their hearing by listening to their headphones at an unsafe level for an extended amount of time. Other causes of hearing loss include ear infections, head trauma and even taking over the counter pain medicine. There are a lot of different activities that can put your hearing in danger and it’s important to know what they are. In most cases hearing loss is permanent so it’s best to know the dangers so you can make educated decisions to protect your ears.
Fiction: I am not exposed to dangerous levels of noise
Fact: No matter what your day to day life is like, the risk of noise induced hearing loss is all around us. The world around us continues to grow louder and louder and it is important to understand when loud can be too loud for our ears. Sounds are measured in decibels and any sound over 85 decibels can start to cause damage to our ears. It is not just the level of sound but the longevity of the exposure. This is why work-related hearing loss is such an issue.
When someone is exposed to a low level of harmful noise day after day for 8 hours or more, noise induced hearing loss can be conglomerative. As the decibel level increases the time it takes to sustain damage to your ears speeds up. No matter what your job or lifestyle is, it is important to understand the risk. There are apps available on most smartphones that measure the decibel level in a space so you know the risk. If sounds exceed 85 decibels then ear protection can lower sounds 15-30 decibels.
Fiction: I can live safely with hearing loss
Fact: Living with untreated hearing loss has serious consequences when ignored. When you cannot hear what the people in your life are saying, it is common for people to choose to avoid social situations rather than struggle with poor hearing. Relationships with friends and family become strained and at work are overlooked for advancement. People who choose to avoid dealing with hearing loss can become socially isolated, depressed and anxious. Studies have found a strong link between hearing loss and dementia.
To make matters worse, studies have found that people with untreated hearing loss are at higher risk of accidents, falls, hospitalization and even death. This is because hearing loss makes it harder to be alert and aware of your environment. When you miss audio cues like fast approaching vehicles or warning sounds, it is harder to react in a timely manner to stay safe. Not dealing with your hearing loss puts you at risk and lowers your sense of independence. It’s hard to go out feeling like it’s possible to safely navigate normal circumstances so often people do not go out at all.
Fiction: Hearing aids are hard to use
Fact: While hearing aids can take some time to get used to, with patience, they make it easier to socialize, heal strained relationships, help people secede at work and increase your sense of independence.
If you’ve been avoiding trying hearing aids, it is never too late to start enjoying the benefits. Contact us today to start hearing better into the future!