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Hearing Loss Increasing in Teenagers

by April Maguire

We often associate hearing loss with getting older. While it's true that some people experience hearing problems as they age, the majority of people suffering from the condition are actually under the age of 65. In fact, the rate of hearing impairment has risen exponentially in recent years for teenagers and Millennials, as the frequent use of headphones and earbuds makes them particularly susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss.

Excess Noise Causing Damage

When listening to good music, you have to crank up the volume to properly enjoy it. That's just a fact, right? Unfortunately, increasing the volume on your listening devices can have disastrous consequences for your hearing. Exposing your ears to intense noise can damage the sensitive receptors that relay auditory information to the brain. Once these receptors are damaged or destroyed, there is no way to recover the subsequent loss of hearing.

So how loud is too loud? Generally, your ears can withstand noise at 90 decibels for around eight hours a day. At 95 decibels, that number drops to two hours, and once you reach a volume of 100 decibels, you can only safely listen for around an hour or so. The problem is that many smartphones and MP3 players are capable of producing sounds well in excess of a hundred decibels. And since most Millennials listen to their headphones for several hours a day, experts are seeing a rise in hearing problems.

By some estimates, roughly 10% of the world's population suffers from some degree of hearing loss. Most shockingly, however, is the number of young people that are counted in that tally. In the last decade, the rate of teen hearing loss has increased a whopping 30%, with nearly one in five Millennials now suffering from noise-induced hearing loss.

Preventative Measures

The good news is that this type of hearing loss is almost 100% preventable, and many organizations are working hard to raise awareness. One such company, Starkey Hearing Technologies, based in Minnesota, recently launched a new campaign called "Listen Carefully," which is designed to stop the epidemic of hearing loss around the world.

When it comes to preserving your hearing, there are a few simple steps that you can take. First, try to limit your use of personal listening devices to no more than a few hours a day. Also, if you have the option, use headphones as opposed to ear buds, as the buds go deeper into your ear, increasing the volume and the amount of damage inflicted. Additionally, experts recommend going into the settings on your device and limiting the maximum volume output or purchasing a pair of acoustic-limiting headphones.

There is absolutely no reason for anyone to prematurely lose their ability to hear. By being aware of the risks and taking the proper precautions, you can retain your natural hearing ability well into old age.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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