Hearing Loss is Not an Age Problem, Here’s Why
Despite popular opinion, hearing loss is not only an issue for the elderly. Overall hearing loss is on the rise despite the fact that how old you are is still a strong factor. Hearing loss remains at around 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. The World Health Organization and the United Nations recommend that more than 1 billion people globally age 12-35 are at risk of developing loss of hearing. The CDC states that roughly 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 already have hearing loss and the latest research indicates that that number is closer to 17%. Other reports say hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over only 10 years ago. Johns Hopkins performed a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. Over current numbers, that’s a staggering number.
What’s Causing Us to Develop Hearing Loss at a Younger Age?
It used to be that, if you didn’t spend your days in a loud and noisy environment, damage to your hearing would happen fairly slowly, so we consider it as a side effect of getting older. This is the reason why when you’re grandfather wears a hearing aid, you’re not surprised. 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 like to do: chatting with friends, listening to music, watching movies and using earbuds or headphones for all of it. Most people have no clue what is a harmful volume or how long it takes to do damage and that’s problematic. Instead of taking steps to protect our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud noise, purposely exposing our ears to hazardous noise levels.
There’s a whole generation of young people around the world who are gradually damaging their hearing. That’s a huge problem, one that’s going to cost billions of dollars in terms of treatment and loss of economic productivity.
Loss of hearing is Not Well Understood
Keeping away from extremely loud sounds is something that even young children are usually wise enough to do. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t widely grasped. It’s not commonly known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can harm hearing.
But hearing loss is normally associated with aging so most people, particularly younger people, aren’t even concerned with it.
However, the WHO says permanent ear damage could be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Solutions And Suggestions
Due to the fact that so many people use smart devices regularly, it’s a particularly extensive problem. That’s the reason why providing additional information to mobile device users has been a recommended answer by some hearing specialists:
- Extreme-volume alerts.
- It’s how long a sound persists, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specific decibel for too long).
- Adjustments of volume for hearing health can be made by parents by employing built in parental control settings.
And that’s just the beginning. Paying more attention to the health of our hearing, many technological solutions exist.
Turn Down The Volume
The most significant way to mitigate damage to your ears is to decrease the volume of your mobile device. That’s true whether you’re 15, 35, or 70.
And there is no arguing the fact that smartphones are not going away. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. So we’ve got 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.
Also, decibel levels in your environment can be measured by app’s that you can download. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Ear protection is one way but also making sure you’re not doing things such as trying to drown out noises with even louder noises. For 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 specialist if you have any questions.