Loss of hearing isn’t just an issue for the elderly, in spite of the prevalent idea. Overall hearing loss is on the rise despite the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Hearing loss stays at around 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. The World Health Organization and the United Nations suggests that more than 1 billion people worldwide age 12-35 are at risk of developing loss of hearing. The CDC says roughly 15% of children between 6 and 19 currently have loss of hearing and more recent research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over only a decade ago. Even worse, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and estimates that by 2060 about 73 million people over the age of 65 will have loss of hearing. That’s an astounding increase over current numbers.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We usually think about hearing loss as a side effect of aging as it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a loud setting. This is why when you’re grandfather wears a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of ways of life.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether it’s talking to friends, listening to tunes, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and wearing earbuds to do it all. Most people have no idea what is a harmful sound level or how long it takes to do damage and that’s a problem. Instead of doing our best to safeguard our ears, we often even use earbuds to drown out loud noise, voluntarily exposing our ears to dangerous noise levels.
There’s a whole generation of young people around the world who are gradually damaging their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge problem and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Hearing Loss is Not Well Understood
Keeping away from extremely loud sounds is something that even young kids are usually sensible enough to do. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t popularly grasped. Most people won’t recognize that medium intensity sounds can also damage your hearing if exposed for longer time periods.
Needless to say, the majority of people around the world, specifically young people, aren’t really concerned about the dangers of hearing loss because they associate it with aging.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage may be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Options And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices regularly, it’s an especially extensive issue. That’s the reason why many hearing professionals have suggested solutions that focus on offering mobile device users with additional information:
- It’s how long a sound persists, not only how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specific decibel level for too long).
- Built-in parental controls which let parents more closely supervise volume and adjust for hearing health.
- Warnings about high volume.
And that’s just the start. Paying more attention to the health of our ears, plenty of technological possibilities exist.
Turn The Volume Down
If you minimize the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to mitigate damage to your ears. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
And there is no arguing the fact that smartphones are not going away. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. So we have to come to terms with the fact that loss of hearing is no longer associated with aging, it’s associated with technology.
That means the way we prevent, treat, and talk about hearing loss has to change.
Also, decibel levels in your environment can be measured by app’s that you can download. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Ear protection is one way but also making sure you’re not doing things such as attempting to drown out noises with even louder noises. For instance, if you drive with your windows down, don’t turn up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic could already be at damaging levels. As always, if you have questions about your hearing, come talk to us.