The Rise and Hopefully the End of Hearing Loss

It is no secret that our generation is blasting loud music right through our headphones. I am guilty of this as well. There is something liberating in escaping through the music. You dance to the rhythm as if you are in your own world and that nothing can stop you.

But, then you take your headphones off and suddenly, you hear an "EEEEEEEEEEEEE" sound.

That's tinnitus.

Tinnitus is when you hear a ringing sound throughout your whole life. Sometimes, it's not a ringing sound. Sometimes, it can be crickets, buzzing, whistling, and much more. You might even hear the music. Sometimes, tinnitus can occur due to vitamin deficiencies or sensory issues. Personally, I suffer from sound sensitivity all throughout my life and therefore, I have tinnitus. However, it is no doubt that tinnitus can occur from exposure to loud sounds. Once your ears have been exposed to loud sounds, your hair cells become dead forever. In order to cope with that, your brain develops a ringing sound.

I know my tinnitus worsened when I was in Drum Corps during my high school career. I wasn't bothered by the loud beat of the drums until I experienced sudden hearing loss every time a parade ended. Things escalated when I got my first iPhone at 17. Whoo boy. Since I was a sheltered high schooler, you bet that I would escape through music. I'm sure you felt that way in high school, too.

Now, I have a tinnitus that is way worse and I'm paying the consequences for it. From now on, I always play music in low volume. If I play anything other than that, I would make my ears sting. But, nobody's doing the same thing that I'm doing. Every time I walk past somebody with blaring their music out loud, I worry for their ears

Scientists stated that loud music doesn't necessarily correlate to hearing loss. In addition, the hearing loss for teens is going steady. But, reports already stated that a quarter of American adults are suffering from hearing loss. Therefore, while teens may not have a hearing loss now, they may get it in their adulthood. What's even worrisome is that once you're hard of hearing, you need a hearing aid or a cochlear implant which is something insurance won't even cover. Things get even more expensive when you become deaf and suddenly, you need to take ASL classes as well as an interpreter.

Hearing loss is scary. You won't be able to hear your loved one's voice. You won't be able to listen to your favorite songs. You won't be able to hear the sounds around you. You are stuck in an ocean of silence or rather, auditory hallucinations ought to get you.

But, fear not, our increased risk of hearing loss is getting investors to pay attention for a cure. One company, Frequency Therapeutics, is focusing on regenerating hair cells in the cochlea. They hoped to have this treatment by mid 2018.

You hear that? You are getting your cure early!

Of course, there are the pesky FDA regulations that can take so many years and decades that you might think that it's going to take a century. But, with years of hearing loss, getting the treatment would be worth it. Getting hair cell regeneration after years of deafness is like getting eye glasses after years of blurry vision.

"Hey, I can hear everything!"

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