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Bud or Foe? Earbuds Are Actually Teen Hearing Enemies

by April Maguire

If you see a teenager listening to music, there’s a good chance he or she is donning a pair of earbuds. Replacing the giant-sized external headphones of yore, earbuds come in hundreds of fun and trendy styles and offer great sound. However, studies show these listening tools might be causing permanent damage to teenagers’ hearing.

Danger of Donning Earbuds

It’s no secret that many of today’s teens blast their music at top volume. Further, teens often listen to iPhones and iPods at the gym, meaning they have to turn the sound up high to hear it over the ambient noise. Because the brain adapts to the current noise level, teens may not realize that listening to music at this volume could actually be damaging their ears.

While any loud noise has the potential to damage hearing, earbuds pose a more serious threat because they deliver sound deeper into the ear canal. Repeated exposure to loud sounds can permanently injure the cilia, or nerve endings that receive sound vibrations. While audiologists recommend limiting sound to 85 decibels, many earbuds expose children to 105 decibels of sound or more. As a result, more young people are developing hearing loss than ever before.

Because hearing loss is often mild at first, teens may not even realize they’ve been affected. Because they don’t know a problem exists, they often neglect to seek help from parents or doctors. However, even a mild degree of hearing loss can have a significant effect on a teen’s ability to listen and learn in a classroom environment.

Additionally, hearing loss is a condition that can worsen with time. While the level of loss may not seem particularly severe now, by the time an individual reaches 60 years of age, he or she could be partially deaf. As a result, parents should seek to protect their kids from suffering even small amounts of hearing loss at a young age.

Protect Your Children’s Hearing

To protect teens’ hearing, parents should monitor the amount of time kids spend using personal listening devices, as repeated exposure to loud sounds can prove hazardous. Further, families should seek out volume-limiting headphones that cap out at 85 decibels.

Additionally, it’s important to have children’s hearing tested regularly, as individuals don’t always know that they’re suffering from hearing loss. Periodic hearing assessment is the best way to identify hearing loss in its early stages, before it impacts education and quality of life.

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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