Loss of hearing isn’t simply an issue for older people, in spite of the prevalent belief. In general hearing loss is on the rise despite the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Hearing loss remains at around 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. The World Health Organization and the United Nations suggests that more than 1 billion people worldwide age 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss. In children between the ages of 6 and 19, around 15% already have loss of hearing according to the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% based on current research. Just 10 years ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower according to another study. Johns Hopkins carried out a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have loss of hearing. Over current numbers, that’s an astounding number.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss Earlier?
We usually think about hearing loss as a result of aging because it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a noisy environment. This is the reason why when you’re grandfather uses a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of lifestyle.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether you’re chatting with friends, listening to tunes, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and wearing earbuds to do it all. The problem is that we have no idea what level of volume (and what duration of that volume) is harmful to our ears. Instead of doing our best to safeguard our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud sound, voluntarily subjecting our ears to harmful noise levels.
Slowly but surely, a whole generation of young people are damaging their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge concern and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Hearing Loss is Not Well Understood
Avoiding very loud noises is something that even young children are generally smart enough to do. But it isn’t well understood what hearing loss is about. Most people won’t know that medium intensity noises can also damage your hearing if exposed for longer time periods.
Of course, most people around the world, particularly young people, aren’t really concerned about the risks of hearing loss because they associate it with aging.
According to the WHO, individuals in this 12-35-year-old age group could be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Options And Recommendations
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices frequently, it’s an especially widespread issue. That’s the reason why many hearing professionals have recommended answers that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Alerts about high volume.
- It’s how long a sound lasts, not only how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specified decibel level for too long).
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by using built in parental control settings.
And that’s only the start. There are a lot of technological ways 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 important way to minimize injury to your hearing. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
Let’s be honest, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. It’s not only kids that are addicted to them, it’s everyone. So we’ve got to deal with the fact that loss of hearing is no longer linked to aging, it’s associated with technology.
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. Ear protection is one way but also making sure you’re not doing things like trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. If you drive with the window down, for instance, the noise from the wind and traffic might already be at a harmful level so don’t turn up the radio to drown it out. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.