Hearing loss isn’t only a problem for the elderly, in spite of the prevalent idea. While age is a strong predictor of hearing loss, overall hearing loss has been on the rise. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 loss of hearing stays in the 14-16% range. World wide, more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12-35 are at risk of getting hearing loss, according to the united nations and The World Health Organization. The CDC says nearly 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 already have loss of hearing and the latest research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Other reports say hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers from just 10 years ago. Even worse, a study from Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and forecasts that by 2060 about 73 million people over the age of 65 will have loss of hearing. That’s an astounding increase over current numbers.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
In the past, if you didn’t spend your days in a loud and noisy surrounding, damage to your hearing would happen relatively slowly, so we consider it as an inevitable outcome of getting older. This is why when you’re grandmother wears a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But changes in our lifestyle are affecting our hearing at a younger and younger age.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether it’s chatting with friends, listening to music, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we enjoy doing and using earbuds to do it all. The problem is that we have no idea what level of volume (and what duration of that volume) is damaging to our hearing. Instead of taking steps to safeguard our ears, we often even use earbuds to drown out loud noise, voluntarily exposing our ears to dangerous sound levels.
Little by little, a whole generation of young people are harming their hearing. That’s a huge problem, one that’s going to cost billions of dollars in treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Even young kids are usually sensible enough to avoid extremely loud noises. But it isn’t commonly understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not generally recognized that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can injure hearing.
Of course, most people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really thinking about the hazards of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
According to the WHO, those in this 12-35-year-old age group may be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Solutions And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices regularly, it’s a particularly widespread issue. That’s the reason why many hearing professionals have suggested answers that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
- Extreme-volume warnings.
- It’s how long a sound lasts, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a particular decibel for too long).
And that’s just the start. Paying more attention to the health of our ears, plenty of technological possibilities exist.
Reduce The Volume
If you reduce the volume of your mobile device it will be the most significant way to mitigate injury to your hearing. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
Let’s face it, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. It’s not only kids that are attached to them, it’s everyone. So we have to realize that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.
Which means we need to change the way we discuss, prevent, and deal with hearing loss.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Ear protection is one way but also making sure you’re not doing things such as trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. As an example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t turn up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic may already be at harmful levels. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.