Serving Patients in Western North Carolina since 1981
Hearing Loss: Age-Related or Not
You don’t just “get old” and lose your hearing overnight – though it may seem that way. It happens gradually over time, and starts younger than you’d probably think. Read about the hearing loss stages our ears go through as we grow.
It almost goes without saying that most people draw a connection between hearing loss and getting older. Everyone knows that our ability to hear will diminish over time, and yet it’s too easy to lose sight of the fact that proper hearing care is vital regardless of age. You may be surprised to find out that the largest group of individuals living with an uncorrected form of hearing loss is actually between the ages of 40-59.
Inside our ears, we have a certain number of microscopic “hair cells.” Unlike the hair on your head, these microscopic hair cells in your inner ear will never grow back.
Naturally, over time, some of the hair cells wear down and just stop working like they used to, which explains most people’s hearing loss. Your hearing isn’t gone because you’re getting older, it’s really because you’ve been exposed to more of life’s sounds for longer.
How to Know
What many perceive to be age-related hearing loss can stem from various external factors throughout an individual’s life. Things like smoking, existing conditions (diabetes or even pregnancy), or a track record of hearing conditions in your family can contribute to the likelihood of developing hearing loss.
If you ever find yourself, a friend, or a loved one having an increasingly tough time hearing conversations, difficulty with high-pitched sounds, or experiencing a ringing sensation in the ears – it’s time to talk to a hearing specialist.
You may not even notice at first, but if you find that the beginning and ending words of a sentence are particularly hard to hear, this is another indicator of potential hearing loss.
Get Back in the Conversation
It’s normal to experience issues with hearing, and there’s no reason to feel embarrassed or hesitant to admit any amount of hearing loss, even if it might not be that serious yet.
Don’t waste time waiting for your hearing to just come back in mystical fashion. Talk to a physician, bring a friend or loved one with along, have your hearing tested, and learn more about possible solutions. You’ll be thanking yourself later, guaranteed.
By taking action sooner rather than later, you’ll make sure that the future-you is hearing at your best.