Is this hearing loss “normal” for someone my age?
It is true, like most other things that deteriorate as we age, so does our hearing. We are constantly surrounded by sounds in our environment, from the refrigerator humming, leaves rustling, and birds chirping. All of those sounds help us to be aware of our surroundings, sense of direction, and safety.
We do not have the ability to turn our ears off when we don’t want to hear things, although wouldn’t it be great if you could when your spouse is snoring at night?!
Since we cannot do so, our ears are constantly working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from before we are born until the end of our lives.
With years of constant use, naturally, this has an affect on our hearing organ resulting in hearing loss; but think about the sounds you may have heard throughout your life. Did you frequent live concerts or sporting events? Did you work in construction or have a hobby that uses loud tools? All of those things are factors that can determine the severity and onset of your hearing loss. Also, things like medications, genetics, and other health conditions also affect our hearing. These are all important to consider when asking, “is this hearing loss normal for my age?”
Normal hearing is defined as the absence of hearing loss. On an audiogram (hearing test graph), normal hearing is between 0 dB and 20 dB. Hearing loss is identified if the response at any frequency is greater than 20 dB. It is common with hearing loss caused by aging that some responses particularly in the low pitch range may fall within the normal hearing range while the others in the high pitch range fall in the range of hearing loss.
Simply put, there is no “normal” hearing loss for my age. Yes, we are more susceptible to hearing loss as we age, however, diagnosing hearing loss and the need for hearing aids, there is either normal hearing (0-20dB) or hearing loss (25 dB or greater).
With hearing loss, prevention is key. You do not want to wait until your hearing loss is so bad that you have no other choice but to get hearing aids because more often than not, that is when it is too late, and hearing aids may not benefit you. If you have your hearing tested and hearing aids are recommended by your hearing professional, then it’s time to take care of it. Use it or lose it!