Hearing Loss in Teens
We all know that hearing loss doesn’t discriminate based on age. Hearing loss due to illnesses, genetics, medications or injury crosses generational lines and can affect everyone from the very young to the very old. But when it comes to hearing loss, children and teenagers face particular challenges that are unique to them.
What causes hearing loss in teens?
Across age groups, hearing loss can result from a variety of causes. Though illnesses, genetics, injuries to the head or ear, birth complications or exposure to certain medications can all be factors, among older people, hearing loss is most often attributed to a natural aging of the auditory nerve, also known as age-related hearing loss. In teens, however, the most common cause of hearing loss is excessive noise exposure, which is completely preventable.
According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 12.5 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes.
Unlike the bulky headphones of times past, earbuds deliver sound directly into the ear canal without any sound buffering in between. Adding to this is that most of the earbuds that come bundled with iPods and other mp3 players are low to mediocre quality, so they are unable to transit the bass as effectively. As anyone who listens to music knows, if you can’t hear the bass, the temptation is to turn the music up.
Fortunately there are ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in tweens and teens. Some of these include:
- Use high-quality earbuds that more effectively transmit the bass, or use headphones instead.
- Follow the 60/60 rule: No more than 60 minutes of listening at a time, and no higher than 60 percent of maximum volume. If you go under “settings,” you can actually set your iPod for maximum volume setting of 60 percent, so you can’t accidentally turn your music up too loud.
- Remember, if others can hear the music you are listening to through your earbuds, it is too loud.
- Be sure and take breaks from listening to music, and try not to fall asleep while listening to music through earbuds.
- Always wear earplugs at concerts and loud sporting events.
Here is a handy graph showing what noise levels are safe and what is not.
If you suspect you might have hearing loss, there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you might need to seek treatment:
- Are you having trouble hearing other people’s voices clearly?
- Do you often have to ask people to repeat themselves?
- Does your family often have to ask you to turn the volume down on the TV?
- Do friends and family say that you don’t seem to hear very well?
- Do you often find yourself missing jokes or parts of conversations?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you should book a hearing test. A simple hearing test isn’t painful and can determine if you have hearing loss, to what degree and whether treatment or intervention is necessary. Remember, protecting your hearing when you are young can reduce the likelihood of hearing loss down the road.
Contents of this article from http://www.phonak.co.za/10-tell-tale-signs-of-hearing-loss