The laughter of our loved ones and beautiful music are some of the most precious sounds in life. It is through our ears that we can hear these sounds.
But, did you know? Almost no one has a "perfect" hearing, be they young or old.
Understanding your hearing condition is the first step towards retaining and retrieving these beautiful sounds.
Let's pause here and think about your past health examinations. Did they all just use "pass" or "normal" on the column of hearing?
Has it ever occurred to you that such simplified results could not help you understand your hearing condition comprehensively? Without sufficient data being collected, there's no way of further examining whether you have a "good" or "bad" hearing. Besides, you cannot be sure whether your hearing has stayed the same or deteriorated.
Hearing loss does not suddenly occur at later age. The key lies in the hair cells inside your ears.
Just because you are young doesn’t mean that you do not need to know all this. As a matter of fact, we all have to face the challenge of hearing loss the minute we were born.
Why did it start the minute we were born? Simply put, one important reason why we can hear sounds is because of the hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear (as shown on the right). Our cochlea is the size of a pea, but it contains tens of thousands of hair cells, which convert the sound waves conveyed by the outer and middle ear into electrical signals. The signals are then sent to our brain by the auditory nerves, so that we know a sound has come through.
These hair cells were fully grown when we were born. However, aging, bad hearing habits or ear-related illnesses may easily contribute to the damage or even death of our hair cells and the cilia on them, leading to different levels of hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), is one of the consequences of damaged hair cells.
It is noteworthy that presbycusis does not suddenly happen when people get old. The damage of hair cells often starts when people are young. It is difficult to identify the problem at its early stage because the deterioration starts from ultra high frequencies. Generally, children can hear sounds at up to 20,000 Hz. Many adults, however, can only hear up to 12,000-14,000 Hz, or 10,000 Hz. However, human voice frequency is generally less than 8,000 Hz. It is why people don't usually notice such a hearing deterioration, which, in fact, is happening every day.
Our hair cells won’t regenerate! Keep track of your hearing and begin to protect your ear hair starting from today!
More importantly, our hair cells won’t regenerate. That is, the hearing loss caused by the damage or death of hair cells is irreversible. This type of hearing loss can't be repaired.
The failure to notice the importance of hearing can lead to serious consequences. According to the WHO, on an average, one out of every three people over 65 years old suffers from hearing loss. 360 million people around the globe are impacted by hearing loss, accounting for more than 5% of the world’s total population. Furthermore, WHO pointed out that more than half of the people currently affected by hearing loss lost out on the opportunity to have prevented it earlier.
Understanding your hearing condition is the first step towards hearing loss prevention. There are many causes for hearing loss besides aging, such as loud noises, genetics, metabolic problems, vascular diseases, intake of ototoxic drugs, bacterial infection, lack of vitamins or trace elements, and so on. The best way to protect your hearing is by tracking your hearing conditions as early as possible and staying away from noises. Also, identify the possible causes and seek for treatments when something goes wrong with your hearing.
Almost everyone has hearing flaws. With the help of technology, you can find back the beautiful sounds that were once lost.
It's not the end of the world even if you found out that you have a hearing loss. As a matter of fact, almost every one of us more or less has hearing flaws, according to studies from home and abroad as well as Erdo's tests.
With technology, it is possible to improve our hearing loss. Take presbycusis as an example, if you have a hearing loss of above 35 dB HL in usual speech frequencies, hearing aids may help improve your hearing. Many elderly people considered wearing hearing aids as a symbol of aging, so they refuse to wear them. However, the advanced technology nowadays has allowed them to hide the hearing aids in their ear canals so that other people won’t be able to notice these small devices easily. There is also technology being developed to enable people with a slight hearing loss to enjoy music and movies again.
Our ears allow us to experience the beautiful sounds in the world, and they deserve our attention and care.
Let’s attend to our hearing and enjoy the sounds with family and friends, starting from today!