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

Hearing loss is typically thought of as an older person’s issue – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that about 50% of people aged 75 and older have some kind of hearing loss. And despite the fact that it’s frequently totally avoidable, new research reveals an alarming number of younger 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 found that 34% of those youngsters exhibited signs of hearing loss. The cause? It’s assumed that it may be from earbuds and headphones connected to mobile devices. And the young are not the only ones at risk.

In People Who Are Under 60, What Causes Hearing Loss?

For teenagers and everybody else, there is a simple rule for earbud volume – if others can hear your music, then it’s too loud. Harm to your hearing can occur when you listen to sounds above 85 decibels – which is about the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for a prolonged time period. A normal mobile device with the volume cranked up all the way clocks in at around 106 decibels. Your hearing is damaged in less than 4 minutes in these conditions.

While you might think that this stuff would be common sense, the reality is kids spend in excess of two hours each day on their devices, and typically they have their earbuds connected. They’re playing games, watching videos, or listening to music during this time. And if current research is to be believed, this time will only increase over the next few years. Studies demonstrate that dopamine is triggered by smartphones and other devices with screens, in the brain’s of younger kids, which is exactly what addictive drugs do. It will be more and more difficult to get kids to put down their screens, and their hearing may suffer as a result.

How Much Are Young Kids in Danger of Hearing Loss?

Obviously, hearing loss offers numerous difficulties to anyone, no matter what the age. But there are added issues for young people concerning academics, after school sports, and even job prospects. The student is disadvantaged if they have a hard time hearing and understanding concepts in class because of early loss of hearing. It also makes playing sports a lot more challenging, since so much of sports includes listening to coaches and teammates give instructions and call plays. Early loss of hearing can have a detrimental effect on confidence as well, which puts unnecessary roadblocks in the way of teenagers and younger adults who are entering the workforce.

Hearing loss can also lead to persistent social issues. Children whose hearing is damaged commonly wind up needing therapy because they have a more difficult time with their friends due to loss of hearing. Mental health issues are typical in people of all ages who suffer from hearing loss because they commonly feel isolated and have anxiety and depression. Managing hearing loss often must go hand-in-hand with mental health treatment, particularly in kids and teenagers during developmental years.

How You Can Steer Clear of Loss of Hearing?

The first rule to adhere to is the 60/60 rule – offending devices should be at less than 60% of their max volume for no more than 1 hour each day. If you’re able to hear your kids headphones, even if if the volume is at 60%, you should ask them to turn down the volume.

Also older style over-the-ear headphones may be a better choice than earbuds. Earbuds, placed directly in the ear can actually generate 6 to 9 extra decibels compared to conventional headphones.

Generally speaking, though, do everything you can to limit your exposure to loud sounds throughout the day. You can’t control everything, so try and make the time you’re listening to tunes headphone-free. If you do believe you are dealing with hearing loss, you should see us right away.

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