Posted October 17, 2014
When you were growing up, your parents may have told you to “turn it down” when you listened to the TV or radio. Today’s young people are hearing these words, too, except the concern is about the sound level of their video games, tablets, MP3 players and smartphones. Generations ago, people were not aware of noise-induced hearing loss. Now hearing professionals are encouraging parents to remind children to protect their hearing by keeping the volume of their devices at lower levels.
Here are three reasons why:
- Hearing loss in children and teens is increasing – Researchers at Johns Hopkins University report a 31 percent increase in adolescent hearing loss in the past decade.
- Noise-induced hearing loss occurs from extended exposure to loud sounds or a one-time explosion. The hair cells inside the cochlea (inner ear) can be permanently damaged.
- Many young people use earbuds to listen to music and block out conversations or other noises. If the other noises become louder, they just crank up the volume. Over time, this practice can lead to hearing loss.
- Teach kids to follow this rule of thumb when using earbuds: If people close by can hear your music, or you can’t hear others close to you talking, the volume is too high. Keep listening levels at less than 80 percent of the maximum volume and listen for less than 90 minutes at one time.
- Small changes in hearing may not be recognized until significant impairment has occurred – After attending a concert or being in a loud environment, it’s common to experience some temporary hearing loss. Daily sounds and normal conversations may seem muffled, but this usually goes away within 24 to 48 hours. Encourage children and teens to use earplugs or other hearing protection in loud places.
- Hearing loss can affect academic and work performance and make it difficult to participate in discussions – By protecting hearing throughout life, you and your family members can enjoy lively conversations, learn new things at work or school and share ideas without hesitation (because you heard and understand what was said).
Read more tips on fighting hearing loss.