When people think about hearing loss, teenagers would be the last people to come to mind. However, recent research indicates that very soon, teenagers will outnumber elderly adults in terms of hearing loss.With advancements in technology come the dangers to hearing. Personal audio instruments such as iPods and smart phones have severe detrimental effects to the hearing abilities in teenagers. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around fifty percent of teenagers expose themselves to extremely loud levels of sound over a prolonged period of time. This means that 1.1 billion teenagers run the risk of developing hearing loss worldwide.Any sound above 85 decibels is considered unsafe for hearing, and exposing yourself to eight hours of listening to music as this level can lead to hearing loss. The louder your music level is, the shorter the time it takes to damage hearing. Teenagers are often moody and stubborn when it comes to listening to the request to turn down music levels; unfortunately this habit of listening to loud music over time can cause irreversible damage to their hearing.
Teenagers who expose themselves to loud noise over time can also develop Tinnitus, or the ringing sensation within the ears. They may even feel as though their ears are plugged or stuffed. Each of these symptoms can indicate some form of hearing loss.
Due to the rebellious nature of teenagers, they may be unaware or unwilling to admit to their hearing loss before severe damage has already been done. However, hearing loss needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage since it can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem, social and communicative skills.
To prevent hearing loss in teenagers it is best to set predetermined volume settings on personal audio devices. You can also help prevent hearing loss by setting a daily time limit that restricts your child to listening to music for less than one hour each day (as recommended by WHO) to limit their exposure to loud music. Ensure regular hearing tests for teenagers to help detect early signs of hearing loss.