Hearing loss isn’t only an issue for the elderly, in spite of the common idea. In general hearing loss is becoming more prominent despite the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Among adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss stays in the 14-16% range. World wide, more than 1 billion people from the ages of 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss, according to the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between 6 and 19, around 15% already have hearing loss according to the CDC, and the number seems to be closer to 17% based on more recent research. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers from just a decade ago. Johns Hopkins performed a study projecting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have loss of hearing. Over current numbers, that’s a staggering number.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
It used to be that, unless you spent your days in a loud and noisy environment, damage to your hearing would happen rather slowly, so we consider it as an inevitable outcome of getting older. This is why when you’re grandfather uses 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 chatting with friends, listening to music, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we enjoy doing and wearing earbuds for all of it. Most people have no idea what is a damaging volume or how long it takes to do damage and that’s an issue. Instead of taking steps to protect our ears, we often even use earbuds to drown out loud noise, purposely exposing our ears to dangerous sound levels.
There’s a whole generation of young people everywhere who are gradually damaging their hearing. That’s a huge concern, one that’s going to cost billions of dollars in terms of treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Avoiding very loud sounds is something that even young kids are generally wise enough to do. But it isn’t popularly understood what hearing loss is about. Most people won’t know that medium intensity noises can also damage your hearing if the exposure is long enough.
But hearing loss is generally associated with aging so the majority of people, particularly young people, aren’t even concerned with it.
However, the WHO says permanent ear damage could be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
The issue is particularly widespread because so many of us are using smart devices on a regular basis. That’s the reason why offering additional information to mobile device users has been a suggested solution by some hearing professionals:
- Warnings about high volume.
- Modifications 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 high decibel level (it’s not only the volume of a sound that can cause damage it’s how long the noise lasts).
And that’s only the start. There are a lot of technological ways to get us to start paying more attention to the health of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
The most significant way to minimize damage to your hearing is to decrease the volume of your mobile device. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
After all, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not only kids. So we have to come to terms with the fact that loss of hearing 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. Ear protection is one way but also making certain you’re not doing things such as attempting to drown out noises with even louder noises. If you drive with the window down, for example, the noise from the wind and traffic may already be at a harmful level so don’t crank up the radio to drown it out. As always, if you have questions about your hearing, come talk to us.