Despite popular belief, hearing loss isn’t just a problem for the elderly. While age is a reliable predictor of hearing loss, as a whole hearing loss has been rising. Among adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss hovers in the 14-16% range. The World Health Organization and the United Nations recommend that more than 1 billion people worldwide aged 12-35 are in danger of developing loss of hearing. The CDC says roughly 15% of children between 6 and 19 currently have loss of hearing and the latest research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Just 10 years ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower as reported by another study. What’s more, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and forecasts that by 2060 about 73 million people above the age of 65 will have loss of hearing. Over current numbers, that’s a staggering number.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We tend to consider hearing loss as a result of aging because it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a loud environment. This is the reason why when you’re grandmother uses a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of ways of life.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether you’re talking to friends, listening to music, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and using earbuds for all of it. The issue is that we have no clue how loud (and for how long) is damaging to our ears. Instead of taking steps to safeguard our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud sound, voluntarily subjecting our ears to hazardous sound levels.
Gradually, a whole generation of young people are harming 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 Misunderstood
Even young kids are usually smart enough to avoid incredibly loud noises. But it isn’t widely understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not commonly known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can damage hearing.
But hearing loss is commonly associated with aging so most people, especially younger people, aren’t even concerned with it.
According to the WHO, individuals in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to irreversible damage.
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices frequently, it’s an especially extensive issue. That’s why many hearing specialists have suggested answers that focus on offering mobile device users with additional information:
- Adjustments of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
- It’s how long a sound persists, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a particular decibel for too long).
- Alerts about high volume.
And that’s only the start. Paying more attention to the health of our hearing, many technological solutions exist.
Reduce The Volume
The most significant way to minimize injury to your hearing is to decrease the volume of your mobile device. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
Let’s face it, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not only kids. So we’ve got to deal with the fact that loss of hearing is no longer associated with aging, it’s associated with technology.
Which means we need to change the way we discuss, prevent, and treat hearing loss.
Also, decibel levels in your environment can be measured by app’s that you can download. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Making certain not to attempt to drown out loud noises with even louder noises and of course wearing ear protection. For instance, 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. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.