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Things You May Not Know About Hearing Loss

Imagine waking up one day to a faint ringing in your ears and noticing that background noises seem muffled. You find it challenging to comprehend conversations from a distance and even bump into furniture you typically navigate around effortlessly. These are common signs of experiencing hearing loss.

Identifying hearing loss in its early stages can be tricky, mainly due to the prevailing stereotypes surrounding it. Many believe that only the elderly suffer from hearing impairment or individuals exposed to loud, damaging noise levels. Discover below five unexpected truths about hearing loss.

1. Early Onset is Possible

While a significant number of individuals experience hearing loss between 60 and 69 years old, 15% of Americans aged 18 and above encounter some degree of hearing difficulty. Surprisingly, nearly three out of every 1,000 children are born with varying levels of hearing loss, and one in every eight Americans over 11 years old has quantifiable hearing impairment.

This underscores the importance of safeguarding your hearing from a young age. Audiologists advise restricting earbud and headphone volume to below 60% and refraining from raising it to drown out surrounding noise. Additionally, limiting exposure to loud noises for extended durations is crucial.

2. Correlated With Dementia

Research indicates a strong association between hearing loss in older adults and dementia. Studies suggest that moderate hearing loss triples the likelihood of developing dementia as individuals age. This connection is likely due to individuals with hearing impairment withdrawing from social interactions.

Hearing plays a pivotal role in stimulating the brain to process information and engage socially. When the brain loses the ability to connect with others, maintaining optimal neurological health and activity levels can become more challenging. It’s important to note that hearing loss does not inevitably lead to dementia, as there are individuals in the deaf community who age healthily.

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3. Can Indicate Diabetes

An intriguing revelation is that hearing loss might serve as an early warning sign of underlying diabetes or prediabetes. While not all cases of hearing loss suggest diabetes, and not all diabetics experience hearing impairment, individuals with prediabetes face a 30% higher risk of developing hearing loss compared to non-diabetic counterparts.

Diabetic individuals struggle to naturally regulate blood sugar levels, leading to elevated sugar levels in the bloodstream, which can trigger systemic inflammation. While ongoing research is exploring this correlation, some experts posit that this inflammation could harm the delicate inner ear, contributing to hearing loss.

4. Influences Balance

Balance is intricately connected to the proper functioning of the inner ear. Fluid-filled canals and tiny hairs within the inner ear transmit signals to the brain about head positioning, while calcium crystals in other inner ear organs aid in managing acceleration.

Individuals often experience motion sickness when signals from the inner ear conflict with inputs from other sensory organs, such as during plane rides. As people age, they naturally lose hair cells in their inner ears. Conditions affecting balance may sometimes also impact hearing, explaining why older adults are more prone to imbalance and falls.

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5. Benefits From Assistance

Many individuals fear that using hearing aids may worsen their natural hearing capacity. This perception stems from the body adapting to hearing aid assistance, making the unaided hearing experience seem poorer in comparison. Once accustomed to sharper, clearer sounds, reverting back can be challenging.

However, properly fitted and adjusted hearing aids do not cause additional hearing damage. In fact, they can aid in preserving existing hearing levels by continually stimulating the brain with sound. To safeguard your hearing, it is advisable not to delay investing in hearing aids until your hearing worsens significantly.

Hearing Is Precious

It’s easy to take your sense of hearing for granted, yet many individuals experience hearing loss early in life. Proactively caring for your hearing by reducing exposure to loud music and noises that could harm your inner ear is vital. Sudden unexplained hearing loss could also serve as an early warning of diabetes.

Elderly individuals with hearing loss face higher risks of dementia and potential falls due to balance issues. Swiftly acquiring hearing aids can help prevent further hearing decline and sustain optimal brain function throughout your life.

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