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Man on bus wearing headphones unaware he is causing hearing loss with prolonged exposure.

Hearing loss is generally considered an older person’s problem – as a matter of fact, it’s estimated that around 50% of individuals who suffer from loss of hearing are 75 or older. But new research shows that younger people are at risk for hearing loss – and, alarmingly, they are losing their hearing in spite of the fact that it’s absolutely avoidable.

A study of 479 freshmen from three high schools conducted by The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing discovered that there were signs of hearing loss in 34% of them. The reason? It’s believed that it may be the result of headphones and earbuds connected to mobile devices. And the young aren’t the only ones in danger of this.

In Individuals Who Are Under The Age of 60, What Causes Hearing Loss?

There’s a simple rule regarding earbud volume for teenagers and all other people – the volume is too high if others can hear your music. Your hearing can be injured when you listen to sounds above 85 decibels – similar to the volume of a vacuum cleaner – for a prolonged period of time. A normal mobile device with the volume cranked up to the max registers at around 106 decibels. Your hearing is injured in less than 4 minutes in these situations.

Although this sounds like common sense stuff, the truth is kids spend around two hours each day on their devices, and normally they have their earbuds connected. During this time they’re listening to music, watching videos, or playing games. And if current research is correct, this time will only get longer over the next few years. Studies demonstrate that dopamine is triggered by smartphones and other devices that have screens, in the brain’s of younger kids, which is literally what addictive drugs do. Kids loss of hearing will continue to increase because it will be increasingly difficult to get them to put away their screens.

How Much Are Young People in Danger of Hearing Loss?

Obviously, loss of hearing presents numerous struggles to anyone, regardless of age. But there are added issues for young people pertaining to after school sports, job prospects, and even academics. The student is disadvantaged if they have a hard time hearing and comprehending concepts in class because of early loss of hearing. It also makes playing sports much more challenging, since so much of sports includes listening to teammates and coaches give instructions and call plays. Teenagers and young adults who are entering the workforce will have unneeded challenges if their hearing loss has a detrimental effect on their confidence.

Social issues can also continue because of hearing loss. Children whose hearing is impaired have a harder time connecting with friends, which frequently results in emotional and social problems that require therapy. Mental health troubles are typical in people of all ages who have hearing loss because they commonly feel separated and have depression and anxiety. Managing hearing loss in many cases must go hand-in-hand with mental health therapy, especially during the important developmental stages experienced by kids and teenagers.

How You Can Steer Clear of Loss of Hearing?

The first rule to adhere to is the 60/60 rule – devices and earbuds should only be used for 1 hour per day at a maximum volume of 69%. If your kids listen to headphones at 60% and you can still hear the sound while sitting close to them, you should have them turn it down until you can’t hear it anymore.

You may also want to say goodbye to the earbuds and go with the older style over-the-ear headphones. Conventional headphones can produce almost 10% less volume in comparison to in-ear models.

Generally, though, do everything you can to limit your exposure to loud sounds throughout the day. If you try to listen to your music without headphones, that is one of the few things you can control. And, you should see us immediately if you suspect you’re already suffering from loss of hearing.

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