When your teeth hurt, you go to the dentist, and when your vision is blurry, you go to the eye doctor… What’s so different about treating your hearing loss?
The average person waits seven years to seek treatment for a hearing problem, and only one in five people with hearing loss actually wears hearing devices. Many people feel that there is stigma around hearing aids, and that they’ll make them appear old. However, hearing loss isn’t an “old person” disease; it affects people of all ages.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Most cases of hearing loss are caused by noise-induced damage to the inner ear. When the stereocilia, or tiny hair cells of the inner ear that convert soundwaves to electrical signals to be interpreted by the brain as sound, are exposed to unsafe noise levels, they become damaged and do not recover.
New Yorker author David Owen argues, “What’s remarkable is not that so many of us have trouble following conversations at cocktail parties but that anyone past adolescence can hear anything at all.”
And it’s true – we constantly expose ourselves to unsafe noise levels, not just from rock concerts and wearing earbuds, but even our power tools, kitchen appliances and the restaurants we visit can cause permanent hearing damage over time.
What’s the solution to hearing loss?
Hearing aids have come a long way in a short amount of time. Owen explains, “There is no better time in all of human history to be a person with hearing loss.” He’s right – in the 17th century, the only option for treating hearing loss was an ear trumpet – a large cone held up the ear to help funnel soundwaves.
Even the hearing devices of a decade ago can’t match what’s available today. Today’s hearing devices can connect to your smartphone, stream music and movies, automatically adjust settings based on your location and much more.
How can you prevent hearing damage?
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss or not, it’s important to protect the hearing you do have. Invest in custom hearing protection if your hobbies include loud noises, like musician’s plugs for concertgoers or hunter’s plugs for shooting enthusiasts. Look for appliances with decibel outputs of lower than 85 dB. Even a pair of convenience store earplugs can help prevent damage from your lawnmower or leaf blower.
To talk to a professional about preventing or treating your hearing loss, contact Torrance Audiology today!