Hearing loss is generally considered an older person’s issue – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that about 50% of individuals who have 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.
The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing recently carried out research on 479 freshmen from three high schools and discovered that there were signs of hearing loss in 34% of them. The cause? It’s thought that it may be from headphones and earbuds connected to mobile devices. And older people are also susceptible.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss in People Under 60?
For teenagers and everyone else, there is a basic rule for earbud volume – it’s too loud if others can hear your music. Your hearing can be damaged when you listen to noises higher than 85 decibels – which is about the sound of a vacuum cleaner – over a long period of time. If the volume is cranked all the way up on a normal mobile device it’s volume is around 106 decibels. In this circumstance, damage starts to occur in less than 4 minutes.
While this sounds like common sense stuff, the truth is kids spend upwards of two hours a day on their devices, and normally they have their earbuds plugged in. They’re listening to music, playing games, or watching videos during this time. And if current research is to be believed, this time will only increase over the next few years. Studies show that smartphones and other screens stimulate dopamine generation in the brain’s of younger kids, which is the same reaction triggered by addictive drugs. Kids loss of hearing will continue to increase because it will be more and more hard to get them to put their screens down.
How Much Are Young People in Danger of Hearing Loss?
Irrespective of age, it’s obvious that loss of hearing presents countless struggles. But there are additional issues for young people concerning job prospects, after school sports, or even academics. The student is disadvantaged if they have a difficult time hearing and understanding concepts during class due to early hearing loss. It also makes participating in sports a lot more difficult, since so much of sports involves listening to coaches and teammates give instructions and call plays. Early loss of hearing can have an adverse effect on confidence too, which puts needless obstacles in the way of teenagers and young adults who are joining the workforce.
Social struggles can also persist because of loss of hearing. Kids with impaired hearing have a harder time socializing with friends, which often results in emotional and social struggles that require therapy. Mental health concerns are typical in people of all ages who have hearing loss because they typically feel isolated and experience depression and anxiety. Mental health therapies and hearing loss management often go hand in hand, especially in kids and teenagers during formative years.
How You Can Prevent Loss of Hearing?
The first rule to follow is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at no more than 60% of their max volume for no more than 1 hour a day. If you can hear your kids music, even if if the volume is at 60%, you should tell them to turn down the volume.
You may also choose 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 traditional headphones.
Throughout the day in general, you need to do everything possible to reduce your exposure to loud sound. You can’t control everything, so try to make the time you’re listening to tunes free of headphones. And, see us immediately if you suspect you’re already suffering from loss of hearing.