In spite of popular belief, hearing loss is not just an issue for the elderly. In general hearing loss is on the rise in spite of the fact that age is still a strong factor. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 loss of hearing stays in the 14-16% range. The World Health Organization and the United Nations suggests that more than 1 billion people worldwide aged 12-35 are in danger of developing loss of hearing. In children between the ages of 6 and 19, around 15% already have loss of hearing according to the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% based on current research. Other reports say hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over only a decade ago. What’s more, a study conducted by Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and estimates that by 2060 around 73 million people above the age of 65 will have loss of hearing. Over current numbers, that’s an astounding number.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We often consider hearing loss as a side effect of aging as it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a loud environment. That’s the reason 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 like to do: chatting with friends, listening to music, watching movies and using earbuds or headphones to do it all. Most people have no idea what is a harmful sound level 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 protecting them.
There’s a whole generation of young people everywhere who are slowly but surely injuring their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge concern and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Keeping away from extremely loud noises is something that even young children are generally wise enough to do. But it isn’t commonly understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not commonly recognized that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can injure hearing.
Of course, the majority of people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really thinking about the hazards of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
According to the WHO, those in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices frequently, it’s a particularly extensive problem. That’s why providing additional information to mobile device users has been a suggested answer by some hearing experts:
- It’s how long a sound lasts, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specified decibel for too long).
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
- High-volume alerts.
And that’s just the beginning. There are a lot of technological methods to get us to begin to pay more attention to the health of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
If you minimize the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to mitigate damage to your hearing. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
And there is no arguing the fact that smartphones are not going away. It’s not only kids that are attached to them, it’s everyone. 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.
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 sure you’re not doing things like attempting to drown out noises with even louder noises. If you drive with the window down, for instance, the noise from the wind and traffic could already be at a harmful level so don’t turn up the radio to drown it out. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.