Loss of hearing isn’t simply a problem for older people, in spite of the prevalent idea. In general hearing loss is on the rise in spite of the fact that age is still a strong factor. Among adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss hovers 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. In children between the ages of 6 and 19, about 15% already have loss of hearing according to the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% based on more recent research. Only a decade ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower according to another report. Johns Hopkins performed a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. That’s a staggering 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 develop rather slowly, so we consider it as a side effect of aging. That’s the reason why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother wears a hearing aid. 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 you’re chatting with friends, listening to music, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and using earbuds for all of it. Most people have no idea what is a harmful sound level or how long it takes to do damage and that’s an issue. Sometimes we even use earbuds to drown out loud noises, meaning we’re voluntarily exposing our ears to damaging levels of sound instead of safeguarding them.
There’s an entire generation of young people around the world who are slowly but surely injuring their hearing. That’s a huge problem, one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Keeping away from extremely loud noises is something that even young children are usually smart enough to do. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t generally grasped. The majority of people won’t know that medium intensity sounds can also damage your hearing if exposed for longer time periods.
But hearing loss is normally associated with aging so the majority of people, particularly young people, don’t even think about it.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage could be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Solutions And Recommendations
The issue is particularly widespread because so many of us are using smart devices on a regular basis. That’s why offering additional information to mobile device users has been a recommended solution by some hearing experts:
- Alerts about high volume.
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
- Warnings when you listen too long at a high decibel level (it’s not just the volume of a sound that can cause damage it’s how long the sound lasts).
And that’s just the beginning. There are a lot of technological ways to get us to begin to pay more attention to the well being of our hearing.
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. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
Let’s face it, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. 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.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 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 may already be at damaging levels. As always, if you have questions about your hearing, come talk to us.