Despite popular opinion, hearing loss is not just an issue for the elderly. Overall hearing loss is on the rise in spite of the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Among adults aged 20 to 69 loss of hearing hovers in the 14-16% range. Globally, more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss, as reported by the united nations and The World Health Organization. The CDC says roughly 15% of children between 6 and 19 currently have hearing loss and the latest research puts that number closer to 17%. Only 10 years ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower as reported by another report. 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.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss Earlier?
We usually think about hearing loss as a result of aging because it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a noisy setting. That’s why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother uses a hearing aid. 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: listening to music, chatting with friends, watching movies and using earbuds or headphones to do it all. Most people have no clue what is a damaging sound level or how long it takes to do damage and that’s a problem. Instead of taking steps to protect our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud sound, purposely subjecting our ears to dangerous sound levels.
There’s a whole generation of young people around the world who are slowly but surely injuring 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.
Loss of hearing is Not Well Understood
Even young kids are usually sensible enough to stay away from incredibly loud noises. But it isn’t widely understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not commonly recognized that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can harm hearing.
Of course, the majority of people around the world, specifically young people, aren’t really concerned about the hazards of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
According to the WHO, people in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Options And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people utilize smart devices regularly, it’s a particularly extensive problem. That’s why some hearing specialists have recommended solutions that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Warnings when you listen too long at a high decibel level (it’s not just the volume of a sound that can lead to damage it’s how long the sound lasts).
- Alerts about high volume.
- Modifications of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by using built in parental control settings.
And that’s only the start. There are plenty of technological methods to get us to begin to pay more attention to the well being of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
If you decrease the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to mitigate damage to your ears. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
And there is no disputing the fact that smartphones are not going away. It’s not just 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.
Also, decibel levels in your environment can be measured by app’s that you can download. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Making certain not to attempt to drown out loud noises with even louder noises and of course wearing ear protection. 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 crank up the radio to drown it out. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.