Hearing Health Blog

Man on bus wearing headphones unaware he is causing hearing loss with prolonged exposure.

Generally, loss of hearing is thought of as a problem only impacting older people – in fact, it’s estimated that nearly 50% of individuals who suffer from hearing loss are 75 or older. And even though it’s frequently totally avoidable, new research reveals a shocking number of young people are losing their hearing.

A study of 479 freshmen from three high schools conducted by The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing revealed that 34% of those youngsters showed signs of hearing loss. Why is this occurring? Mobile devices with earbuds or headphones connected are thought to be the most likely culprit. And the young are not the only ones at risk.

In People Who Are Under The Age of 60, What Causes Hearing Loss?

There’s an easy rule regarding earbud volume for teenagers and all other people – the volume is too high if other people can hear your music. Harm to your hearing can develop when you listen to sounds higher than 85 decibels – which is approximately the volume of a vacuum cleaner – over a long time period. If the volume is cranked all the way up on a standard mobile device it’s volume is around 106 decibels. In this scenario, injury begins to develop in less than 4 minutes.

While you might think that this stuff would be common sense, the reality is kids spend in excess of two hours each day using their devices, and usually they have their earbuds connected. They’re listening to music, playing games, or watching videos during this time. And if current research is correct, this time will only increase over the next few years. Studies demonstrate that dopamine is activated by smartphones and other devices with screens, in the brain’s of younger kids, which is exactly what addictive drugs do. Kids hearing loss will continue to multiply because it will be more and more hard to get them to put their screens down.

The Risks of Hearing Loss in Young People

Irrespective of age, it’s clear that hearing loss offers a number of challenges. Young people, though, face additional issues regarding academics, after school sports, and even job prospects. The student is put at a disadvantage if they have a hard time hearing and understanding concepts in class due to early loss of hearing. It also makes participating in sports a lot more challenging, since so much of sports entails listening to teammates and coaches give instructions and call plays. Teenagers and young adults who are entering the workforce will have unnecessary challenges if their hearing loss has a detrimental effect on their self-esteem.

Social struggles can also persist because of loss of hearing. Kids with compromised hearing have a harder time interacting with friends, which frequently leads to emotional and social issues that require therapy. People who suffer from loss of hearing can feel isolated and have anxiety and depression inevitably resulting in mental health concerns. Mental health therapies and hearing loss treatment often go hand in hand, particularly in kids and teenagers during formative years.

How You Can Prevent Hearing Loss?

The first rule to follow is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at less than 60% of their maximum volume for less than 1 hour every day. If your children listen to headphones at 60% and you can still hear the sound while sitting near them, you should have them turn it down until you can’t hear it anymore.

Also older style over-the-ear headphones may be a better idea than earbuds. Earbuds, which are put directly in the ear, can actually produce 6 to 9 extra decibels in comparison to traditional headphones.

Throughout the day in general, you need to do everything possible to limit your exposure to loud sound. You can’t control everything, so try and make the time you’re listening to music free of headphones. If you do suspect you are dealing with hearing loss, you should see us right away.

 

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