Hearing loss is traditionally thought to be an older person’s problem – in fact, it’s estimated that around 50% of individuals who suffer from loss of hearing are 75 or older. And despite the fact that it’s often entirely preventable, new research reveals an alarming number of young people are losing their hearing.
A study of 479 freshmen from three high schools carried out by The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing revealed that there were signs of hearing loss in 34% of them. Why is this occurring? Mobile devices with earbuds or headphones connected are suspected to be the most likely culprit. And older individuals are also at risk.
In Individuals Who Are Under 60, What Causes Loss of Hearing?
There’s a very simple rule concerning earbud volume for teenagers and all other people – the volume is too high if other people can hear your music. Injury to your hearing can develop when you listen to noises above 85 decibels – about the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for a prolonged time period. If the volume is turned all the way up on a standard mobile device it’s volume is around 106 decibels. Your hearing is damaged in less than 4 minutes in these conditions.
While you would think that this stuff would be common sense, the reality is kids spend in excess of two hours each day on their devices, often with their earphones or earbuds plugged in. 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 illustrate that smartphones and other screens activate dopamine production in the brain’s of younger kids, which is exactly what addictive drugs do. It will be increasingly challenging to get kids to put down their screens, and their hearing could suffer as a result.
How Much Are Young People in Danger of Hearing Loss?
Regardless of age, it’s obvious that hearing loss presents numerous difficulties. Younger people, however, have to deal with additional problems pertaining to after school sports, job prospects, or even academics. Loss of hearing at a young age results in problems with attention span and understanding concepts during class, which puts the student at a disadvantage. And since sports require a lot of listening to teammates and coaches calling plays, sports become far more challenging. Teenagers and young adults who are entering the workforce will have unnecessary hurdles if their hearing loss has a detrimental impact on their confidence.
Hearing loss can also result in persistent social struggles. Children whose hearing is impaired often wind up requiring therapy because they have a harder time with their friends because of loss of hearing. People who have loss of hearing can feel isolated and have depression and anxiety inevitably causing mental health problems. Treating hearing loss often must go hand-in-hand with mental health therapy, particularly during the important developmental phases experienced by kids and teenagers.
How You Can Avoid Loss of Hearing?
The first rule to adhere to is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at no more than 60% of their maximum volume for less than 1 hour each day. If you can hear your kids headphones, even if they are at 60%, you need to tell them to turn the volume down.
You may also want to say goodbye to the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds, which are put directly in the ear, can actually produce 6 to 9 extra decibels compared to conventional headphones.
Throughout the day in general, you should do everything you can to reduce your exposure to loud sound. You can’t control everything, so try and make the time you’re listening to tunes free of headphones. If you do think you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to see us as soon as possible.