Loss of hearing isn’t just an issue for the elderly, in spite of the prevalent idea. While age is a strong predictor of hearing loss, overall hearing loss has been rising. Hearing loss remains at about 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years of age. The World Health Organization and the United Nations recommend that more than 1 billion people globally age 12-35 are in danger of getting loss of hearing. The CDC states that nearly 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 already have loss of hearing and the latest research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers from just a decade ago. Johns Hopkins carried out a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. That’s an astounding increase over current numbers.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss Earlier?
We tend to consider hearing loss as a side effect of aging because it would develop slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a noisy setting. This is why when you’re grandmother uses a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. But changes in our lifestyle are affecting our hearing younger and younger.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. We are doing what we love to do: listening to music, chatting with friends, watching movies and wearing earbuds or headphones to do it all. The issue is that we have no clue how loud (and for how long) is harmful to our hearing. Instead of taking steps to safeguard our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud sound, purposely subjecting our ears to dangerous noise levels.
There’s a whole generation of young people everywhere who are slowly but surely injuring their hearing. In terms of loss of productivity, that’s a huge concern and one that will cost billions of dollars in treatment.
Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?
Keeping away from extremely loud sounds is something that even young kids are generally wise enough to do. But it isn’t popularly understood what hearing loss is about. It’s not usually known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can damage hearing.
But hearing loss is generally associated with aging so most people, especially younger people, don’t even think about it.
According to the WHO, those in this 12-35-year-old age group may be exposing their ears to permanent damage.
Options And Recommendations
Due to the fact that so many people use smart devices regularly, it’s an especially extensive problem. That’s the reason why many hearing specialists have recommended answers that focus on offering 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 cause damage it’s how long the noise persists).
- High-volume warnings.
- Alterations of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
And that’s just the beginning. There are a lot of technological methods to get us to start paying more attention to the health of our hearing.
Reduce The Volume
The most important way to mitigate injury to your ears is to reduce the volume at which you listen to your mobile device. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
After all, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not only kids. So we have to deal with the fact that loss of hearing is no longer associated with aging, it’s associated with technology.
That means the way we prevent, treat, and talk about hearing loss has to change.
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 like trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. As an example, if you drive with your windows down, don’t crank up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic may already be at harmful levels. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional if you have any questions.