Hearing loss is traditionally thought to be an older person’s issue – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that nearly 50% of individuals who suffer from loss of hearing are 75 or older. And despite the fact that it’s frequently totally preventable, new research shows an alarming 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 discovered that 34% of those students showed signs of hearing loss. The reason? Mobile devices with headphones or earbuds connected are believed to be the primary cause. And the young aren’t the only ones in danger of this.
In People Who Are Under The Age of 60, What Causes Loss of Hearing?
There’s an easy rule regarding earbud volume for teenagers and all other people – if other people can hear your music, then the volume is too high. Injury to your hearing can occur when you listen to noises above 85 decibels – which is about the volume of a vacuum cleaner – over a long period of time. A typical mobile device with the volume turned up all the way registers at approximately 106 decibels. Your hearing is damaged in under 4 minutes in these conditions.
While you might think that this stuff would be common sense, the truth is kids spend upwards of two hours every day using their devices, and normally they have their earbuds plugged in. During this time they’re listening to music, watching videos, or playing games. And if current research is correct, this time will only increase over the next few years. Studies demonstrate that dopamine is triggered by smartphones and other devices with screens, in younger kids’ brains, which is the same effect triggered by addictive drugs. It will be more and more challenging to get kids to put down their screens, and their hearing could suffer as a result.
The Dangers of Hearing Loss in Young People
Irrespective of age, it’s obvious that loss of hearing offers numerous struggles. Young people, however, have to deal with additional issues regarding after school sports, job prospects, or even academics. The student is put at a disadvantage if they have a difficult time hearing and comprehending concepts during class because of early hearing loss. And because sports require a lot of listening to teammates and coaches calling plays, sports become far more challenging. Teenagers and younger adults who are entering the workforce will have unnecessary challenges if their hearing loss has a negative impact on their self-esteem.
Loss of hearing can also lead to persistent social issues. Kids with impaired hearing have a more difficult time connecting with friends, which typically leads to social and emotional issues that require therapy. Mental health concerns are ordinary in people of all ages who have hearing loss because they commonly feel isolated and experience depression and anxiety. Dealing with hearing loss in many cases must go hand-in-hand with mental health treatment, especially during the important developmental stages experienced by kids and teenagers.
Preventing Hearing Loss
The first rule to follow is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at less than 60% of their max volume for less than 1 hour per day. If your kids listen to headphones at 60% and you can still hear the sound while sitting near them, you should tell them to turn it down until you can no longer hear it.
You may also want to say goodbye to the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Conventional headphones can produce almost 10% less decibels compared to in-ear models.
Throughout the day in general, you should do everything you can to reduce your exposure to loud noise. If you try to listen to your music without headphones, that is one of the few things you can control. And, you should see us as soon as possible if you think you’re already suffering from loss of hearing.