Hearing loss is a growing problem that affects thousands of people around the country and around the globe. We used to think it was something that just happened as we age, but hearing loss is not just affecting elders. It’s affecting people of all ages and it is happening for several different reasons. People are not protecting their ears like they should be when they are constantly being exposed to levels of noise that are 90 decibels or higher. This is extremely damaging to the nerve endings inside the ear, especially when it is happening constantly. When the nerve endings are damaged too much, it is then that hearing loss begins to take its course.
Hearing loss presents many challenges for old and young alike. For younger people, it affects their relationships with others profoundly. It may cause them to have difficulty at work if they cannot hear what it is they are being told to do. It may also interfere with their driving, with school, and with simple things such as hanging out with friends. For elders, hearing loss can be significantly more devastating as it gradually worsens. It can cause depression and suicidal thoughts. It can make them feel like they’re losing a piece of themselves while at the same time losing a piece of their identity. To overcome these challenges, both youth and elders must first accept the diagnosis and come to terms with what is happening. They must then make an appointment with a doctor to seek treatment as soon as possible.
A diagnosis of hearing loss, however minor or severe, used to seem like a death sentence. These days there is so much research that has been done and there so much is new technology that has been discovered that hearing loss no longer means we lose our hearing forever. There is now artificial intelligence being used to help the hearing impaired. There is Ava, a mobile application that will transcribe conversations between a person who can hear normally and a person who is legally deaf. There is also SignAll which essentially does the same thing except it also includes computer vision. There is a software development called Cochlear which is still in the developing stages that is using artificial intelligence to adjusts sound to the best quality for cochlear implants and the people that receive them. Artificial intelligence may soon take over the world of hearing loss and allow people to hear in newer ways than ever before.
Hearing aids are currently still the best available treatment on the market for hearing loss. They can be cheap and affordable depending on the brand you buy and they can be purchased for one or both ears depending on your need or preference. Hearing aids have also been known to slow cognitive decline by keeping the brain neurons that control your hearing active and firing. This may delay the onset of dementia for years. There are people who are stubborn and would rather not use hearing aids at all. For people like this, there is nothing you can do but share with them the knowledge of how hearing aids or some form of alternative treatment for their hearing loss will help them. These people also require a lot of patience and encouragement. Remember that it is difficult to hear that you have hearing loss no matter who you are.
To prevent hearing loss, use ear plugs when you know your ears are going to be exposed to loud noises for a lengthy period of time. Don’t put headphones in your ears and listen to your music at the highest volume possible. Also, large volumes of certain medications such as Ibuprofen for prolonged periods can also cause hearing loss. In truth, there are several things that can damage your hearing during day to day life. Take precautions whenever possible. Often, if you care for your hearing when you’re young, your risk of your hearing declining as you grow older is much less likely.
If a loved one is suffering from hearing loss or you yourself think that you are experiencing symptoms, visit us at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions for a hearing test. There are new technological aids you can depend on and new advances coming out in medicine every day. Seek them out and continue living your best life.