Loss of hearing isn’t only an issue for the elderly, despite the prevalent idea. In general hearing loss is becoming more prominent in spite of the fact that age is still a strong factor. Hearing loss stays at around 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. Globally, more than 1 billion people from the ages of 12-35 are in danger of developing hearing loss, as reported by the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between 6 and 19, nearly 15% already have hearing loss according to the CDC, and the number seems to be closer to 17% based on more recent research. Just 10 years ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower as reported by another study. Johns Hopkins carried out a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. Over current numbers, that’s an astounding number.
We Are Developing Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We tend to 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 loud setting. That’s why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother wears a hearing aid. 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. We are doing what we enjoy doing: chatting with friends, listening to music, watching movies and wearing earbuds or headphones for all of it. The problem is that we have no idea how loud (and for how long) is harmful to our ears. 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 a whole generation of young people everywhere who are slowly but surely injuring their ability to hear. That’s a huge concern, one that will cost billions of dollars in terms of treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Even young children are usually wise enough to avoid incredibly loud noises. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t generally grasped. The majority of people won’t recognize that medium intensity sounds can also damage your hearing if exposed for longer time periods.
Needless to say, the majority of people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really thinking about the dangers of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
However, the WHO says permanent ear damage might be happening to those in this 12-35 age group.
The problem is particularly widespread because so many of us are using smart devices regularly. That’s the reason why some hearing professionals have recommended answers that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Warnings when you listen too long at a specific decibel level (it’s not simply the volume of a sound that can result in damage it’s how long the noise persists).
- Warnings about high volume.
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
And that’s just the start. There are plenty of technological methods to get us to begin to pay more attention to the well being of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
If you decrease 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 arguing the fact that smartphones are not going away. Everyone uses them all the time, not only kids. So we have to realize 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. Ear protection is one way but also making certain you’re not doing things such as trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. For instance, 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 harmful levels. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.