If you believe that loss of hearing is an issue for the wrinkly, grey, or balding generation, then you better think again. Age is not the primary factor for damaged hearing; it is noise exposure. With the current generation of millennials perpetually hooked onto their earbuds, is it any wonder why many of these young people are plagued with noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Younger Generations
The damage to the eardrums stemming from audio at unacceptable decibel levels is expanding in rapid proportions among younger Americans, especially in the teens and 20s category. Noise comes from many forms such as sounds from heavy traffic, rock concerts, sporting events, noisy restaurants, loud clubs or bars, and super loud music from headphones.
Research indicates that in the 12 to 19 years old category, 17% already exhibit noise-induced hearing loss in one or both ears. To make matters even worse, many of them do not know that their sense of hearing has been affected. This group already had an inability to detect and hear high-pitched sounds.
That being said, there are government regulations in place to protect workers from a too noisy environment. This ensures hearing loss prevention is enforced while they are doing their job. Ironically, however, there are no rules and laws regarding the protection of society from elements that are too noisy. And it gets noisier with each passing year!
Protected parks and animal sanctuaries do not receive any reprieve from this noisy destruction. Noise pollution emanating from a loud volume of traffic and logging and drilling sounds has only multiplied and drowned out the calming sounds of nature like the meandering stream and chirping birds.
Sadly, many young people do not realize that hearing loss is permanent. Once you lose your hearing, you can no longer get it back. When the loud noise ravages the sensitive cells in your inner-ear, then they are gone for good and they do not regenerate again. You can only hope that the damage isn’t too severe, so you won’t get total hearing loss.
Harmful Hearing Practices
Teens ought to know that they have to be more careful and vigilant when it comes to using their headphones because the damage is cumulative. This means that the more the ears are exposed to loud noise, the more cells die leading to a hearing impairment.
The reason why millennials are the likely target of this hearing loss is that the newly invented earbuds sit closer and more deeply into the ear. This is in contrast to the low-tech “Walkman” earphones in the olden days. Add high quality digital sound that offers super pierce audio stylings, then you have indeed got a recipe for disaster.
Earbuds alone are not to blame, however. The younger generation has turned into using them to drown out an already noisy environment. It is used as a shield to tune out noise is a bus or subway. Some use it while mowing the lawn to fight the boredom. Many don’t realize that noisy environment plus noisy earbuds are both a recipe for disaster.
For these youngsters that are in the early years of their life, it is critical to practice hearing loss prevention. If you want the teenagers in your circle to reach the pinnacle of their life with the sense of hearing, then consider following these important tips.
Tip #1: Turn Down the Volume
Make it a habit not to crank the volume up too much, especially in an outdoor setting. You also want to have an awareness of your environment, so if there are problems, you can address them right away. Be sure to keep the volume to max of 50. Any higher than that could be harmful to your hearing.
Tip #2: Noise-Canceling Headphones
Often, people turn up the volume to block out the noise in the surroundings. This could be extremely harmful to your hearing. Instead, go for a pair of noise-canceling headphones. These block out external noise so you don’t have to crank up the volume on your headset.
That being said, it is not recommended to wear noise-canceling headphones when you’re out and about. Be cautious of your surroundings. When you’re outside, you have to be alert to the oncoming sounds, so ditch the headphones until you’re settled in a safe place.
Tip #3: Use Ear Plugs
When the noise becomes too unbearable, plug your ears. It is critical to protect them at all possible cost because once you lose your sense of hearing it is gone forever. For too loud concerts, these are a must. You still get to enjoy the music, but you are not putting your hearing at risk for a night of fun.
Tip #4: Limit Exposure
Fitness classes, clubs, concerts, and other places with loud music can become overwhelming. It is important to use hearing protection, and it’s also important to remember that you can take breaks from the noise. Move out of the line of the speakers and find a quiet place to “rest” your ears.
Hearing specialists recommend following the 60-60 rule: no more than 60% volume for 60 minutes at a time.
Visit Us at Hart Hearing
Hearing loss can affect people of all ages. If you have noticed changes in your hearing, or if you want to establish healthy hearing practices early with a baseline test, it’s important to get your ears checked. It is useless to be in denial because the longer you wait, the bigger the damage will be! Don’t wait until it’s too late – schedule a hearing exam with us at Hart Hearing & Balance Centers today.