Why Hearing Loss is Not an Age Problem

Young woman suffering from hearing loss does not hear her friends.

Hearing loss isn’t simply an issue for older people, in spite of the prevalent idea. In general hearing loss is becoming more prominent in spite of the fact that age is still a strong factor. Hearing loss remains at about 14-16% amongst adults 20 to 69 years old. World wide, more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12-35 are at risk of developing hearing loss, as reported by the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between 6 and 19, about 15% already have hearing loss as reported by the CDC, and the number seems to be closer to 17% based on more recent research. Just a decade ago hearing loss in teenagers was 30% lower according to another report. What’s more, a study from Johns Hopkins projects these trends out into the future and estimates that by 2060 around 73 million people over the age of 65 will have hearing loss. Over current numbers, that’s an astounding number.

We Are Developing Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?

In the past, unless you spent your days in a loud and noisy environment, damage to your hearing would happen relatively slowly, so we think about it as a side effect of aging. 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: watching movies, listening to music, chatting with friends and wearing earbuds or headphones to do it all. The issue is that we have no idea how loud (and for how long) is damaging to our ears. Instead of doing our best to safeguard our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud sound, voluntarily exposing our ears to harmful sound levels.

Little by little, an entire generation of young people are harming their ears. That’s a big concern, one that will cost billions of dollars in terms of treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.

Do we Really Understand Hearing Loss?

Even young children are usually sensible enough to stay away from extremely loud noises. But it isn’t commonly understood what hearing loss is about. The majority of people won’t recognize that medium intensity sounds can also damage your hearing if the exposure is long enough.

But hearing loss is normally associated with aging so most people, especially younger people, don’t even think about it.

According to the WHO, individuals in this 12-35-year-old age group might be exposing their ears to irreversible damage.

Options And Recommendations

The issue is especially widespread because so many of us are using smart devices regularly. That’s the reason why some hearing professionals have recommended solutions that focus on offering mobile device users with additional information:

  • Built-in parental controls which allow parents to more closely supervise volume and adjust for hearing health.
  • It’s how long a sound lasts, not just how loud it is (warnings when you listen at a specified decibel for too long).
  • Warnings about high volume.

And that’s only the beginning. Paying more attention to the health of our ears, many technological possibilities exist.

Turn Down The Volume

The most important way to mitigate damage to your ears is to minimize the volume at which you listen to your mobile device. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.

And there is no disputing the fact that smartphones are not going away. Everyone uses them all the time, not only kids. So we have to understand that hearing loss has as much to do with technology as it does with aging.

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 certain you’re not doing things such as attempting to drown out noises with even louder noises. For instance, 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 harmful levels. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.