Senior citizens are the age group most often affected by hearing loss, but reports in recent years show hearing loss is also on the rise among teenagers. What’s behind the rise? Researchers believe earbuds and headphones are to blame. Do earbuds cause hearing loss? Not on their own, it’s actually the loud music being pumped directly into your ear canal for hours a day that can ruin your hearing.
A World Health Organization report found over 1 billion teens and young adults are at risk of losing their hearing due to unsafe listening practices.
How do earbuds cause hearing loss?
Inside your inner ear tiny hair cells transmit sound to your brain. Loud sounds cause these tiny hair cells to bend and break leaving you with hearing loss. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to repair them once they’ve been broken.
Any noise that measures over 85dB can damage the hair cells after a certain length of time. A blow dryer runs about 90dB, a lawn mower hits 106dB and a jet plane lands about 120dB. Hearing loss can occur after 8 hours of unprotected exposure to noise over 85dB in your lifetime. As the decibels increase the length of time it takes to damage the delicate structures of your inner ear decreases.
What can be done to stop hearing loss from earbuds?
Anyone looking to protect their hearing, but still use earbuds should use the 60/60 rule. Limit the use of headphones to 60 minutes at a time and at 60 percent of the device’s maximum volume. If you are frequently on a subway or an airplane and find yourself turning up the volume to tune out the noise around you, you should consider investing in noise cancelling headphones. These allow you to reduce ambient noise, thereby saving your ears from painfully loud music. You should also take frequent listening breaks to allow your ears some rest.
Symptoms of hearing loss
Teens who have been exposed to loud noise over a period of time may complain of ringing in the ears (also known as tinnitus) or of a sensation of fullness, as if their ears are plugged. It can be difficult to diagnose teen hearing loss because teenagers often seem to be in their own world, not paying attention to what’s happening at home or in school.
Even minor hearing loss can make communication difficult, and can have long-lasting consequences. A young person’s self-image may be negatively affected by hearing loss, their ability to learn may be compromised, and teenagers with hearing loss may experience difficulty developing social skills.
Hearing loss Treatment
Just like seniors, early hearing loss treatment is key to minimizing long-term impact. If you think your loved one, no matter their age, could be suffering from hearing loss call us today. Each of our locations offer a FREE hearing test to get you on the road to better hearing and improve the quality of the rest of your life.