Hearing loss isn’t simply an issue for the elderly, despite the prevalent idea. While age is a reliable predictor of hearing loss, as a whole hearing loss has been on the rise. Among adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss hovers in the 14-16% range. World wide, more than 1 billion people from the ages of 12-35 are in danger of developing hearing loss, according to the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between the ages of 6 and 19, about 15% already have loss of hearing according to the CDC, and the number seems to be closer to 17% based on current research. Just a decade ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower according to another study. What’s more, a study from Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and estimates that by 2060 about 73 million people over the age of 65 will have hearing loss. That’s an astounding increase over current numbers.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss Earlier?
We tend to think about hearing loss as a result of aging as it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a noisy setting. This is why when you’re grandfather wears a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of lifestyle.
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 wearing earbuds or headphones to do it all. Most people have no clue what is a harmful 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 an entire generation of young people everywhere who are slowly but surely damaging their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a big concern and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Even young children are usually sensible enough to avoid incredibly loud noises. But it isn’t commonly understood what hearing loss is about. Most people won’t recognize that medium intensity noises can also damage your hearing if the exposure is long enough.
But hearing loss is normally associated with aging so the majority of people, particularly young people, aren’t even concerned with it.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage might be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Solutions And Suggestions
The issue is especially widespread because so many of us are using smart devices regularly. That’s the reason why some hearing professionals have suggested answers that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Extreme-volume warnings.
- Alterations 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 simply the volume of a sound that can result in damage it’s how long the noise lasts).
And that’s just the beginning. Paying more attention to the health of our hearing, many technological solutions exist.
Reduce The Volume
The most significant way to mitigate damage to your ears is to decrease the volume at which you listen to your mobile device. 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 addicted 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. Making sure not to attempt to drown out loud noises with even louder noises and of course using ear protection. For example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t crank up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic could already be at damaging levels. As always, if you have questions about your hearing, schedule a hearing exam.