Hearing loss isn’t just an issue for older people, despite the common belief. Overall hearing loss is on the rise in spite of the fact that age is still a strong factor. Hearing loss stays at about 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. The World Health Organization and the United Nations suggests that more than 1 billion people globally aged 12-35 are in danger of getting hearing loss. The CDC says nearly 15% of children between 6 and 19 currently have loss of hearing and the latest research puts that number closer to 17%. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over just a decade ago. Johns Hopkins conducted a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have loss of hearing. That’s a staggering increase over current numbers.
Why Are we Developing Hearing Loss Earlier?
We usually think about hearing loss as a result of aging as it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a noisy environment. That’s why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother uses a hearing aid. But changes in our way of life are impacting our hearing younger and younger.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. We are doing what we enjoy doing: chatting with friends, listening to music, watching movies and wearing earbuds or headphones for all of it. Most people have no idea what is a damaging volume or how long it takes to do damage and that’s a problem. Instead of doing our best to safeguard our ears, we often even use earbuds to drown out loud sound, purposely subjecting our ears to hazardous noise levels.
There’s an entire generation of young people around the world who are gradually injuring their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge concern and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Avoiding extremely loud sounds is something that even young kids are usually sensible enough to do. But it isn’t generally understood what hearing loss is about. The majority of people won’t recognize that medium intensity noises can also damage your hearing if the exposure is long enough.
But hearing loss is normally associated with aging so most people, particularly younger people, aren’t even concerned with it.
According to the WHO, people in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to irreversible damage.
Options And Recommendations
Due to the fact that so many people use smart devices regularly, it’s an especially extensive problem. That’s the reason why some hearing specialists have recommended answers that focus on offering mobile device users with additional information:
- Alterations 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 persists, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specific decibel for too long).
And that’s just the beginning. There are a lot of technological methods to get us to start paying more attention to the health of our hearing.
Turn The Volume Down
If you minimize the volume of your mobile device it will be the most significant way to minimize damage to your ears. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
And there is no disputing the fact that smartphones are not going away. It’s not just kids that are attached to them, it’s everyone. So we have to understand that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.
That means the way we prevent, treat, and talk about hearing loss has to change.
Also, decibel levels in your environment can be measured by app’s that you can download. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Making sure not to try to drown out loud noises with even louder noises and of course wearing ear protection. For example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t crank up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic could already be at damaging levels. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.