The truth about hearing loss in your 30s & 40s
There’s a common misconception that hearing loss only affects older people. If you’re in your 30s or 40s, you could already have hearing damage, and you may not even know it. Hearing loss affects more than 38 million adults. Nearly 20% of those people are in their 20s.
Typically, what comes first is high-frequency hearing loss. This means that regular sounds such as background noise or everyday conversation become muffled. Over time the issue becomes gradually worse. There are common understood ways that hearing loss is initiated, but there are also circumstances that people are not so aware of.
What Causes Hearing Loss in Young Adults
When it comes to hearing loss at 30 and 40, audiologist Sharon Sandridge, PhD of the Cleveland Clinic, has been quoted as saying any loud sound can cause noise-induced hearing loss, including music and the crowd at a sporting event. loud sounds break the microorganisms in your ear that help you hear. “Those microorganisms are responsible for dropping off neurotransmitters that allow our ears to function swiftly and properly,” explains Dr. Sandridge. She also went on to mention the amount of damage depends on how loud a sound is and your length of exposure.
Noise measured at or above:
- 85 decibels (dB): This level is dangerous after more than eight hours of exposure. Think the sounds of city traffic while you’re driving in your car as an example.
- 100 dB: At this level you reach the danger zone after 15 minutes. A prime example would be a stadium full of people being at full volume.
- Over 100 dB: At this level you’re at risk of instant hearing loss. Instances such as being exposed to gun fire can cause this occurrence.
The louder the sound, the shorter that exposure time can be. It’s imperative that you take the necessary precautions to protect your hearing at all costs.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Since damage to your ears often happens gradually, you might not notice it at first. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in four people between the ages of 20 and 69 have measurable hearing loss — but think their hearing is excellent. Just because you aren’t aware of the problem doesn’t mean it’s not there. Two signs of hearing loss to look for in your 30s and 40s are:
- Tinnitus: Usually described as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus is often an early sign of hearing loss.
- Difficulty hearing high frequencies: Hearing loss affects higher frequencies first; an early sign includes having trouble hearing women’s and children’s voices.
Learning to recognize the signs of hearing loss will help improve your long-term prognosis. If you are experiencing either of these symptoms, you should make sure you get your hearing checked. Early detection is important; catching the problem early and taking steps to treat them can prevent further damage. This also protects you from the physical, emotional, and psychological issues associated with impaired hearing—a list that includes anxiety, loneliness, depression, memory loss, dementia and an increased risk of diabetes, kidney disease and falls. No matter the age or profession these issues can be very effective.
How To Prevent Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss is preventable. There are many ways to have healthy hearing. The three main tips to achieve this are:
- Wear hearing protection: If you have to raise your voice to be heard, you are in a potentially dangerous situation for your ears. So be sure to wear earplugs.
- Turn down the sound: For listening devices, if you keep the sound around 50 to 60%, you can listen to it all day long. Bring the volume up to 80%, and you can clock in about 90 minutes. But at the max, your ears only have about seven minutes before you put your ears at risk.
- Give your ears a rest: Don’t be afraid to walk away or take a break if you’re exposed to loud sounds at concerts, sporting events, mowing the grass or other recreational activities.
It is highly recommended that you get a hearing test as early as your 20s, even if your ears seem to be fine. A hearing test gives you a clear idea of your hearing sensitivity and if improvement is needed. We offer a clinically validated free online test that is quick to complete, as well as a comprehensive hearing test with a licensed specialist or audiologist in any of our 500+ hearing centers nationwide.
We also now have several OTC hearing aids that support mild to moderate losses. Our proprietary hearing aid technology works by giving you direct sound without compressing or modifying it first. You’ll hear clearer, more natural sound without distortion and background noise. Our OTC hearing aids start at just $199.99. Better hearing doesn't have to be tedious and expensive, Lucid Hearing is making hearing health more accessible and affordable than ever.