Loss of hearing isn’t just a problem for older people, despite the common belief. Overall hearing loss is becoming more prominent in spite of the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss hovers in the 14-16% range. Globally, more than 1 billion people from the ages of 12-35 are in danger of getting hearing loss, as reported by the united nations and The World Health Organization. The CDC says nearly 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 currently have hearing loss and the latest research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Other reports say hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers from just 10 years ago. Worse still, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and forecasts that by 2060 around 73 million people over the age of 65 will have hearing loss. That’s a staggering increase over current numbers.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss at a Younger Age?
We often consider hearing loss as a result of aging as it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a loud environment. That’s why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother wears a hearing aid. But changes in our way of life are impacting our hearing at a younger and younger age.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. We are doing what we love to do: 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 damaging to our ears. Occasionally we even use earbuds to drown out loud noises, meaning we’re voluntarily exposing our ears to harmful levels of sound instead of protecting them.
Little by little, an entire generation of young people are damaging their ears. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a big problem and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Avoiding extremely loud noises is something that even young kids are generally wise 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.
Needless to say, the majority of people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really concerned about the risks of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage may be happening to those in this 12-35 age group.
Options And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices regularly, it’s a particularly extensive issue. That’s why many hearing specialists have suggested answers that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Alerts about high volume.
- It’s how long a sound persists, not only how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specific decibel for too long).
- Built-in parental settings that let parents more closely monitor volume and adjust for hearing health.
And that’s just the start. There are a lot of technological methods to get us to start paying more attention to the well being of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
The most important way to mitigate damage to your ears is to decrease the volume at which you listen to your mobile device. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
Let’s be honest, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. It’s not just kids that are addicted to them, it’s everyone. So we’ve got to deal with the fact that hearing loss is no longer associated with aging, it’s associated with technology.
Which means we need to change the way we talk about, prevent, and treat hearing loss.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Making certain not to try 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 crank up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic might already be at harmful levels. As always, if you have questions about your hearing, come talk to us.