A certain amount of hearing loss is expected over a lifetime. After all, we are constantly exposed to noises varying from soft to extremely loud, and our ears age just like any other part of our body. But hearing loss as it’s depicted in comics and TV sitcoms –where an elderly character can’t hear the punchline someone is literally shouting in their ear – is not inevitable.
Learn a few other things you didn’t know about hearing loss below.
1. Hearing Loss Is Affecting Younger Generations, Too
With easy access to loud music streamed directly into our ear canals, it’s no surprise that hearing loss is becoming more and more common with children and young adults. While some devices warn the user when the volume is turned up too loud, young people often ignore the warnings – and why wouldn’t they when they imagine their bodies are invincible? But as Russell Broadhead, hearing instrument specialist at Heroes of Hearing in Tucson says, “Hearing loss affects all ages. Today one in five teenagers have some type of hearing loss.”
2. There Are Different Types of Hearing Loss
It’s a common misconception that there’s only one kind of hearing loss – deafness. But as Broadhead notes, “The most common is high frequency hearing loss.” People with this kind of hearing loss struggle with clarity.
When it comes to speech, he continues, “The consonant sounds tend to be in the mid and high frequencies. When the brain only gets the vowel sounds or the bass and misses the mids and highs, it sounds like someone is holding their hand over their mouth as they speak.” In other words, it sounds like they’re mumbling. When this happens, the brain uses other indicators to try to understand the words. Broadhead says you’ll even start to read lips subconsciously.
Reverse sloping loss, on the other hand, manifests in the form of making it sound like everyone is talking soft or at lower volumes.
3. Hearing Loss Can Be Treated If Addressed Early
The brain works with your ears to understand the sounds around you. And just like every other muscle in your body, if your brain atrophies from hearing loss, there’s only so much you can do to recover your hearing abilities. “The thing to remember is that the brain can forget how to process sound over time if hearing loss is not treated,” Broadhead says. “This will greatly impact the success in the future you’ll have when you begin treatment. This is why it’s important to have your hearing tested annually.”
After all, you’re never too young to make sure your ears are working properly.
4. There Are Preventative Measures You Can Take
You might not realize that something as simple as a blender can cause damage to your ears, but that’s precisely the problem. Many sounds in our everyday environments, over time, cause long-term hearing loss. That’s why Broadhead says wearing ear protection when you’re in environments louder than 85 decibels is key. “A lawn mower is about 90dB where a rock concert is 120dB+. The louder the noise, the quicker it is to cause damage to your hearing.”
Broadhead recommends wearing simple foam ear plugs when exposed to consistent loud noise, but also says you can purchase custom-made hearing protection. “Electronic ear protection will suppress loud sound over a certain decibel range allowing you to hear your boss or coworkers while at the same time cutting down the background noise, so it doesn’t damage your hearing.”
If you have been told (one too many times) that you need to get your hearing checked, Broadhead and the professionals at Heroes of Hearing can help. Teens and octogenarians alike should make their hearing a priority when it comes to getting checkups.
To learn more about the services at Heroes of Hearing, visit them online at heroesofhearing.com or call (520) 230-3999.
3755 N Business Center Dr, STE 4