Hearing loss isn’t just a problem for the elderly, in spite of the prevalent belief. In general hearing loss is on the rise despite the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss stays 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. In children between the ages of 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 state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over just 10 years ago. Johns Hopkins carried out 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 Developing Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We usually consider hearing loss as a side effect of aging as it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a loud setting. That’s the reason why you aren’t surprised when your grandfather wears a hearing aid. But changes in our lifestyle are affecting our hearing younger and younger.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether it’s chatting with friends, listening to music, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and wearing earbuds 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 problematic. Occasionally we even use earbuds to drown out loud noises, meaning we’re voluntarily exposing our ears to harmful levels of sound instead of safeguarding them.
Little by little, a whole generation of young people are damaging their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge problem and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Hearing Loss is Misunderstood
Even young kids are usually smart enough to stay away from extremely loud noises. 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 harm hearing.
But hearing loss is generally associated with aging so most people, especially younger people, aren’t even concerned with it.
According to the WHO, individuals in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Because so many people utilize smart devices frequently, it’s an especially extensive problem. That’s why offering additional information to mobile device users has been a suggested solution by some hearing experts:
- Alerts about high volume.
- Warnings when you listen too long at a high decibel level (it’s not simply the volume of a sound that can lead to damage it’s how long the noise persists).
- Adjustments of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
And that’s just the start. There are plenty of technological ways to get us to begin to pay more attention to the well being of our hearing.
Turn The Volume Down
If you reduce the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to mitigate injury to your ears. 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 only kids. So we have to realize that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.
Which means we’re going to need to change the way we discuss, prevent, and deal with 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 sure you’re not doing things such as trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. As an example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t turn 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.