Even Younger People Need to Think About This to Protect Their Hearing

Young woman not protecting her hearing in a loud subway.

An estimated 50% of individuals 75 or older have some form of hearing loss and that’s why most people consider it a problem for older people. But despite the fact that in younger people it’s completely preventable, studies show that they too are at risk of experiencing hearing loss.

One study of 479 freshmen across three high schools discovered that 34% of those students showed symptoms of hearing loss. What could be causing this? Scientists believe that earbuds and headphones linked to mobile devices are contributing to the issue. And everyone’s at risk.

Why do people under 60 experience hearing loss?

If other people can hear your music, it’s too loud and that’s a general rule for teenagers and everyone. Harm to your hearing can occur when you listen to sounds above 85 decibels – which is about the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for an extended period of time. Most mobile devices can go well above 105dB. Utilized in this way, 4 minutes is enough to cause damage.

While this sounds like common sense stuff, the truth is that kids spend well over two hours a day on their devices, often with their earphones or earbuds in. During this time, they’re listening to music, playing games, and watching video. And this will only increase over the next few years, if we’re to believe present research. The release of dopamine acts in a similar way to addictive drugs and studies have demonstrated that smartphones and other screens can stimulate the release of dopamine. It will be more and more difficult to get screens away from kids, and their hearing might suffer because of it.

The risks of hearing loss in young people

Regardless of age, hearing loss clearly presents a number of obstacles. For younger individuals though, after school activities, sports, and job prospects create additional challenges. Students with hearing loss face an especially difficult time hearing and understanding concepts. It also makes playing sports much harder, since so much of sports involves listening to coaches and teammates giving instructions and calling plays. Young adults and teenagers entering the workforce can encounter unnecessary roadblocks due to hearing loss.

Social problems can also continue due to hearing loss. Kids frequently develop emotional and social problems which can require therapy if they have hearing loss. People who suffer with hearing loss often feel isolated and experience mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Mental health treatment and hearing loss management often go together and this is especially true with kids and teenagers in their early developmental years.

Preventing hearing loss when you’re young

Using earbuds or headphones for no more than 60 minutes a day and at a volume 60% of max or less (the 60/60 rule) is the first rule to observe. Even at 60%, if others can still hear the sound, it needs to be turned down.

You might also want to ditch the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds put directly inside of the ear can actually produce 6 to 9 extra decibels compared to traditional headphones.

Generally, though, do what you can to limit your child’s exposure to loud sounds throughout the day. Try to make their home time free of headphone use because you can’t regulate what they are doing when they’re not home. And if you do suspect your child is suffering from hearing loss, you should have them assessed right away.

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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