Safeguarding Hearing With This is Something Even the Young Should do

Young woman not protecting her hearing in a loud subway.

An estimated 50% of people over the age of 75 have some form of hearing loss and that’s why most people think of it as an issue for older people. But studies show that younger individuals are at risk for hearing loss – and, alarmingly, they are losing their hearing in spite of the fact that it’s entirely avoidable.

In fact, 34% of the 479 freshmen who were studied across 4 high schools demonstrated signs of hearing loss. What could be causing this? The concept is that mobile devices with earbuds connected are contributing to the issue. And everyone’s at risk.

What causes hearing loss in people under 60?

If other people can hear your music, it’s too loud and that’s a basic rule for teenagers and everybody. Harm to your hearing can happen when you listen to sounds louder than 85 decibels – which is about the sound of a vacuum cleaner – for an extended period of time. The majority of mobile devices can go well above 105dB. Used in this way, 4 minutes is enough to cause damage.

It might seem like everyone would know this but teenagers frequently have their headphones in for hours at a time. During this time, they’re enjoying music, playing games, and watching video. And if current research is to be believed, this time will only get longer over the next few years. Studies show that smartphones and other screens trigger dopamine production in younger kids’ brains, which is the same reaction caused by addictive drugs. Kids’ hearing will suffer as it becomes more difficult to get them to put their screens down.

Young people are in danger of hearing loss

Regardless of age, hearing loss obviously presents numerous challenges. Younger individuals, however, face additional problems regarding academics, after-school sports, and even job prospects. Hearing loss at a young age leads to problems with paying attention and comprehending concepts during class, which puts the student at a disadvantage. It also makes playing sports much harder, since so much of sports involves listening to coaches and teammates giving directions and calling plays. Early hearing loss can have a negative effect on confidence as well, which puts unnecessary obstacles in front of teenagers and young adults who are entering the workforce.

Hearing loss can also lead to social problems. Kids frequently develop emotional and social problems which can require therapy if they have hearing loss. Mental health issues are common in individuals of all ages who suffer from hearing loss because they frequently feel isolated and experience anxiety and depression. Mental health treatment and hearing loss management often go together and this is especially true with kids and teenagers in their early developmental years.

How young people can prevent hearing loss

The first rule to observe is the 60/60 rule – devices and earbuds should only be used for 60 minutes a day at 60% or less of the maximum volume. If your kids listen to headphones at 60% and you can still hear them while sitting close to them, you should have them turn it down until you can’t hear it.

You might also want to ditch the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Compared to traditional headphones, earbuds placed inside of the ear canal can actually create 5 to 10 extra decibels.

Whatever you can do to minimize your child’s exposure to loud sounds throughout the day will be helpful. Try to make their home time free of headphone use because you can’t control what they are doing while they’re not home. And if you do believe your child is experiencing hearing loss, you should have them assessed as soon as possible.

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References

https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing
https://newsie.co.nz/news/163631-deaf-foundation-blames-earbuds-phones-teens-hearing-loss.html
https://time.com/4989275/young-children-tablets-mobile-devices/
https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52500-Hearing-loss-among-kids-and-teens
https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/protecting-your-hearing-means-protecting-your-mental-health
https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/earbuds.html

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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