Hearing loss is typically considered an older person’s concern – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that about 50% of individuals who suffer from hearing loss are 75 or older. And even though it’s frequently totally avoidable, a new study reveals an alarming number of young people are losing their hearing.
The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing recently conducted research on 479 freshmen spanning three high schools and revealed that 34% of those students exhibited signs of hearing loss. The cause? Mobile devices with headphones or earbuds connected are suspected to be the culprit. And older people are also susceptible.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss in People Under 60?
There’s a very simple rule concerning earbud volume for teenagers and everyone else – it’s too loud if others can hear your music. Harm to your hearing can occur when you listen to noises above 85 decibels – which is approximately the sound of a vacuum cleaner – over a long period of time. A normal mobile device with the volume cranked up all the way clocks in at around 106 decibels. In this scenario, injury starts to occur in less than 4 minutes.
Although this seems like common sense stuff, the truth is kids spend around two hours each day on their devices, often with their earphones or earbuds connected. During this time they’re watching videos, listening to music, or playing games. And this time is getting longer every year according to current research. Studies illustrate that smartphones and other screens trigger dopamine generation in younger kids’ brains, which is exactly what addictive drugs do. It will be increasingly difficult to get kids to put down their screens, and their hearing could suffer as a result.
How Much Are Young Kids in Danger of Hearing Loss?
Irrespective of age, it’s obvious that loss of hearing presents a number of challenges. But there are additional issues for young people pertaining to job prospects, after school sports, or even academics. The student is disadvantaged if they have a difficult time hearing and comprehending concepts in class due to early hearing loss. It also makes participating in sports a lot more difficult, since so much of sports entails listening to coaches and teammates give instructions and call plays. Teenagers and younger adults who are joining the workforce will have unneeded challenges if their loss of hearing has a detrimental impact on their confidence.
Social troubles can also persist due to hearing loss. Children with impaired hearing often wind up requiring therapy because they have a more difficult time with their peers because of loss of hearing. People who have loss of hearing can feel separated and have depression and anxiety inevitably causing mental health issues. Dealing with hearing loss in many cases must go hand-in-hand with mental health treatment, particularly during the important developmental periods experienced by kids and teenagers.
Avoiding 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 per day. If you’re able to hear your kids headphones, even if they are at 60%, you should ask them to turn the volume down.
You might also choose to say goodbye to the earbuds and choose the older style over-the-ear headphones. Traditional headphones can produce almost 10% less volume compared to in-ear models.
Generally, though, do everything you can to limit your exposure to loud noises throughout the day. If you try to listen to your tunes without headphones, that is one of the few things you can keep have control of. And, see us right away if you think you’re already suffering from hearing loss.