What a time to be alive. With today's smartphone and tablet technology, you've got instant access to media at all times. That means you have the freedom to enjoy your favorite music, movies and television shows anywhere you like. Unfortunately, it also means that your ears are constantly exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise through your headphones or earbuds.
This proliferation of personal electronic devices is contributing to the already alarming rise in noise-induced hearing loss. As the name implies, this condition arises as the result of exposing the sensitive, sound-absorbing parts of your inner ear to harmful noise levels.
In years past, the biggest risk factor for this type of hearing loss was working in a noisy environment. Among the most dangerous occupations for noise pollution are construction, mining, industrial farming, and the military. Given the risks in these professions, most industry leaders have taken steps to educate their workers about the dangers of hearing loss. Sadly, workplace-related hearing damage is still rampant, and when you combine that with noise-induced hearing loss from electronic devices, you can see why auditory experts around the world are sounding the alarm.
Making Helpful Headphones
Without question, we're on the verge of a hearing loss epidemic, but a tech consulting group out of the UK believes that they may have the solution. Plextek has developed a device that can be placed inside of existing headphones to track the emergence of one of the most common symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss: tinnitus.
While you may know it better as simply the ringing sensation you get in your ears, tinnitus is an incredibly common condition. Although most of us only experience it sporadically, more than 300 million people around the world suffer from chronic tinnitus, negatively affecting their ability to hear. And since tinnitus is a precursor to noise-inducing hearing loss, it often leads to a permanently diminished hearing capacity.
One of the major problems with tinnitus is that by the time the ringing in your ears starts, the damage has already been done. The new device offered by Plextek, however, detects problems even before your body does. It monitors for early warning signs of tinnitus, and when a problem is detected, it sends an alert to a smartphone app that recommends you visit a hearing specialist to take corrective action.
Since early intervention is key when it comes to hearing loss, this type of preemptive detection could help to prevent hearing problems for tens of millions of people. And it could turn one of the greatest contributors of hearing loss – headphones – into a tool that can do some good.
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!