Man on bus wearing headphones unaware he is causing hearing loss with prolonged exposure.

Typically, loss of hearing is considered to be a problem only effecting older people – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that about 50% of individuals who suffer from hearing loss are 75 or older. And even though it’s frequently completely preventable, new research shows a shocking number of younger people are losing their hearing.

A study of 479 freshmen from three high schools carried out by The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing revealed that 34% of those youngsters exhibited signs of hearing loss. The cause? Mobile devices with headphones or earbuds connected are suspected to be the culprit. And the young aren’t the only ones in danger of this.

In Individuals Who Are Under The Age of 60, What Causes Hearing Loss?

For teenagers and everyone else, there is a basic rule for earbud volume – it’s too loud if other people can hear your music. Harm to your hearing can occur when you listen to noises above 85 decibels – similar to the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for a prolonged period of time. A normal mobile device with the volume cranked up to the max clocks in at about 106 decibels. Your hearing is damaged in less than 4 minutes in these situations.

While you would think that this stuff would be common sense, the reality is kids spend upwards of two hours each day on their devices, and ordinarily they have their earbuds connected. During this time they’re watching videos, listening to music, or playing games. And this time is increasing every year according to current research. Studies demonstrate that dopamine is activated by smartphones and other devices that have screens, 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 as a result.

How Much Are Young Kids in Danger of Hearing Loss?

Regardless of age, it’s clear that hearing loss presents a number of difficulties. But there are added problems for young people concerning after school sports, job prospects, and even academics. Loss of hearing at a young age causes problems with attention span and understanding information during class, which puts the student at a disadvantage. And because sports involve a lot of listening to coaches and teammates calling plays, sports become much harder. Early hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on confidence as well, which puts needless obstacles in the way of teens and young adults who are coming into the workforce.

Social problems can also continue due to hearing loss. Kids with compromised hearing have a harder time connecting with peers, which typically leads to social and emotional struggles that require therapy. Mental health issues are ordinary in people of all ages who suffer from hearing loss because they commonly feel isolated and experience depression and anxiety. Dealing with hearing loss often must go hand-in-hand with mental health treatment, especially in teenagers and kids during developmental years.

How You Can Avoid Loss of Hearing?

The first rule to adhere to 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 the sound while sitting close to them, you should tell them to turn it down until you can’t hear it anymore.

You might also want to say goodbye to the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds, placed directly in the ear can actually produce 6 to 9 extra decibels compared to conventional headphones.

Generally speaking, though, do whatever you can to minimize your exposure to loud noises throughout the day. You can’t control everything, so try and make the time you’re listening to tunes headphone-free. And, you should see us immediately if you suspect you’re already suffering from loss of hearing.

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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