Generally, hearing loss is thought of as a problem only effecting older people – in fact, it’s estimated that nearly 50% of people who have loss of hearing are 75 or older. And despite the fact that it’s frequently totally preventable, new research reveals a shocking 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 revealed that 34% of those students showed signs of hearing loss. The cause? Mobile devices with headphones or earbuds connected are suspected to be the most likely culprit. And older people are also at risk.
In Individuals Who Are Under 60, What Causes Loss of Hearing?
There’s a very simple rule concerning earbud volume for teenagers and all other people – the volume is too high if other people can hear your music. Your hearing can be damaged when you listen to sounds above 85 decibels – similar to the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for an extended time period. If the volume is cranked all the way up on a normal mobile device it’s volume is around 106 decibels. In this scenario, injury starts to develop in less than 4 minutes.
While you might think that this stuff would be common sense, in reality kids spend around two hours a day using their devices, and typically they have their earbuds connected. During this time they’re listening to music, watching videos, or playing games. And this time is getting longer each year according to current research. Studies illustrate that smartphones and other screens stimulate dopamine production in the brain’s of younger kids, which is exactly what addictive drugs do. It will be more and more challenging to get screens away from kids, and their hearing could suffer because of it.
How Much Are Young Kids at Risk of Hearing Loss?
Clearly, hearing loss presents many challenges to anybody, no matter what the age. Younger people, however, face additional problems regarding after school sports, job prospects, or even academics. Hearing loss at a young age results in problems with paying attention and understanding concepts in class, which puts the student at a disadvantage. And because sports involve a lot of listening to teammates and coaches calling plays, sports become far more difficult. Teenagers and young adults who are entering the workforce will have unneeded hurdles if their hearing loss has a detrimental effect on their self-esteem.
Social troubles can also continue because of loss of hearing. Kids whose hearing is impaired frequently wind up requiring therapy because they have a more difficult time with their friends due to loss of hearing. People who suffer from hearing loss can feel separated and have anxiety and depression inevitably causing mental health concerns. Managing hearing loss often must go hand-in-hand with mental health therapy, particularly during the important formative phases experienced by kids and teenagers.
How You Can Steer Clear of Hearing Loss?
The first rule to follow is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at no more than 60% of their max volume for less than 1 hour each day. If you’re able to hear your kids music, even if they are at 60%, you need to tell them to turn the volume down.
You might also want to get rid of the earbuds and choose the older style over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds, placed directly in the ear can actually produce 6 to 9 extra decibels in comparison to conventional headphones.
Generally speaking, though, do what you can to limit your exposure to loud sounds 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, you should see us immediately if you think you are already suffering from hearing loss.