Hearing loss isn’t only an issue for the elderly, despite the common idea. While age is a strong predictor of hearing loss, as a whole hearing loss has been on the rise. Hearing loss stays at around 14-16% among adults 20 to 69 years old. 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 according to the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% based on current research. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over just a decade ago. Johns Hopkins performed a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have loss of hearing. Over current numbers, that’s a staggering number.
Why Are we Developing Hearing Loss Earlier?
We often consider hearing loss as a side effect of aging because it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a noisy environment. This is why when you’re grandmother wears a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But changes in our way of life 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 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. Instead of doing our best to protect our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud noise, purposely exposing our ears to hazardous sound levels.
There’s an entire generation of young people around the world who are gradually damaging their hearing. That’s a big problem, one that’s going to cost billions of dollars in treatment and loss of economic productivity.
Loss of hearing is Not Well Understood
Even young children are usually sensible enough to avoid incredibly loud noises. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t commonly grasped. It’s not usually known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can harm hearing.
Of course, the majority of people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really concerned about the hazards of hearing loss because they associate it with aging.
According to the WHO, people in this 12-35-year-old age group could be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
The problem is especially widespread because so many of us are using smart devices on a regular basis. That’s the reason why some hearing specialists have suggested solutions that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Extreme-volume alerts.
- Adjustments 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 specific decibel level (it’s not only the volume of a sound that can lead to damage it’s how long the sound lasts).
And that’s just the beginning. Paying more attention to the health of our ears, many technological possibilities exist.
Turn Down The Volume
If you decrease the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to mitigate injury to your hearing. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
And there is no arguing the fact that smartphones are not going away. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. So we have to understand that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.
That means we need to change the way we discuss, prevent, and deal with hearing loss.
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 like 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 could already be at a harmful level so don’t turn up the radio to drown it out. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.