In spite of common belief, hearing loss isn’t only a problem for older people. While age is a reliable predictor of hearing loss, overall hearing loss has been rising. Amongst adults aged 20 to 69 hearing loss hovers in the 14-16% range. The World Health Organization and the United Nations suggests that more than 1 billion people worldwide age 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss. The CDC states that nearly 15% of children between 6 and 19 currently have hearing loss and the latest research puts that number closer to 17%. Just a decade ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower as reported by another report. Johns Hopkins performed a study projecting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. That’s a staggering increase over current numbers.
We Are Developing Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We often consider hearing loss as a result of aging because it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended time periods in a noisy setting. That’s the reason why you aren’t surprised when your grandfather wears a hearing aid. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of ways of life.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. We are doing what we love to do: watching movies, listening to music, chatting with friends and using earbuds or headphones to do it all. Most people have no clue what is a harmful sound level 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 protecting them.
There’s an entire generation of young people around the world who are slowly but surely injuring their ability to hear. That’s a big problem, one that will cost billions of dollars in terms of treatment and loss of economic productivity.
Loss of hearing is Not Well Understood
Keeping away from very loud sounds is something that even young children are usually sensible enough to do. But it isn’t widely understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not commonly known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can harm hearing.
But hearing loss is generally associated with aging so the majority of people, especially young people, aren’t even concerned with it.
According to the WHO, individuals in this 12-35-year-old age group could be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Solutions And Suggestions
The issue is especially widespread because so many of us are using smart devices regularly. That’s the reason why offering additional information to mobile device users has been a recommended answer by some hearing professionals:
- Adjustments of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
- It’s how long a sound lasts, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specified decibel level for too long).
- High-volume alerts.
And that’s just the start. Paying more attention to the health of our ears, many technological solutions exist.
Reduce The Volume
If you reduce the volume of your mobile device it will be the most important way to minimize injury to your hearing. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
After all, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. So we have to realize that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.
Which means we’re going to need to change the way we talk about, prevent, and deal with hearing loss.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Ear protection is one way but also making sure you’re not doing things such as attempting to drown out noises with even louder noises. As an example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t turn up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic may already be at damaging levels. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.