Despite common belief, hearing loss is not just a problem for seniors. Overall hearing loss is on the rise in spite of the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 loss of hearing stays in the 14-16% range. World wide, more than 1 billion people from the ages of 12-35 are at risk of getting hearing loss, as reported by the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between 6 and 19, about 15% already have hearing loss as reported by the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% based on more recent research. Other reports say hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over only 10 years ago. What’s more, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and forecasts that by 2060 approximately 73 million people over the age of 65 will have hearing loss. Over current numbers, that’s an astounding number.
Why Are we Developing Hearing Loss at a Younger Age?
We tend to consider hearing loss as a result of aging because it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a loud setting. That’s 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 talking to friends, listening to tunes, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we enjoy doing and using earbuds for all of it. Most people have no clue what is a damaging volume or how long it takes to do damage and that’s a problem. Occasionally we even use earbuds to drown out loud noises, meaning we’re voluntarily subjecting our ears to harmful levels of sound instead of safeguarding them.
There’s a whole generation of young people everywhere who are gradually damaging their ability to hear. That’s a big 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 it isn’t generally understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not usually recognized that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can harm hearing.
But hearing loss is generally associated with aging so the majority of people, especially younger people, aren’t even concerned with it.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage could be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Options And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices frequently, it’s a particularly extensive issue. That’s the reason why offering additional information to mobile device users has been a suggested answer by some hearing specialists:
- It’s how long a sound lasts, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specific decibel level for too long).
- Extreme-volume alerts.
- Built-in parental controls which allow parents to more closely supervise volume and adjust for hearing health.
And that’s only the start. Paying more attention to the health of our hearing, plenty of technological solutions exist.
Turn The Volume Down
The most important way to minimize 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 have to understand 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.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 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. If you drive with the window down, for instance, the noise from the wind and traffic might already be at a damaging level so don’t crank up the radio to drown it out. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.