How an Ever-Changing Society is Leading to More Hearing Loss in Young Adults
It is undeniable that teenagers and young adults are more connected to technology today than they have ever been in the past. With the growing popularity of smart phones and Bluetooth technology comes endless opportunity to be plugged into music, video streaming and even television and movies on the go. In addition, noise exposure in public venues is also increasing. Concerts, dance clubs and sporting events have become louder than ever thanks to newer speakers and better music technology. So what does all of this add up to for the younger generation? Unfortunately, the answer might be hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe sound levels are putting approximately 1.1 BILLION teenagers and young adults at risk for noise induced hearing loss! The WHO estimates that about 50% of people aged 12-35 in middle and high income countries are exposed to unsafe sound levels from devices like smart phones and MP3 players. Additionally, about 40% of the above named age group is also at risk for noise induced hearing loss in public venues such as night clubs and sporting events.
For more information on exactly what noise induced hearing loss is, check out one of our previous blogs on this topic. Also, take a look at permissible noise levels for listening to music in order to get a better understanding of what is safe and what might cause damage.
While noise induced hearing loss is not reversible, it is largely preventable. When it comes to hearing, the WHO’s main recommendation is to take simple, preventative measures to protect your ears before damage starts. Teenagers and young adults should be aware of environments that are dangerously loud and use hearing protection at all times in those situations. If you must be without hearing protection, significantly limit the time spent in loud situations and take frequent breaks from the noise. Turn down the volume on personal music players and if you spend a lot of time listening through headphones, invest in a good pair that is more effective at canceling out background noise. That way, you will not need to turn the volume up as loud to hear it. The WHO has also made the recommendation that governments pass legislation limiting the admissible noise level in public venues and encouraging education and public awareness regarding noise induced hearing loss.
It is estimated that 48 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. There is no need for teenagers and young adults to add to that statistic because of noise induced hearing loss. Be educated on acceptable, safe noise levels, and always use hearing protection if you think a situation might be too loud. Your ears will thank you for it later!