The number of smartphones has grown continuously over the past 14 years alongside music streaming services, in parallel with the use of personal listening systems : spending extended periods of time listening to music at excessive volumes on a daily basis has become standard among youngsters.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 17% of adults aged 20-69 have permanently damaged their hearing as a result of excessive noise exposure. Permanent damage to hearing can cause irreversible hearing loss and tinnitus. For children and adolescents aged 6-19 , the percentage is about 12.5%, which is concerning as hearing words and sounds is crucial for children to learn and develop their social skills. Children suffering from hearing loss are also more likely to see their school success decline because of their condition.
However, permanent noise-induced hearing loss can be avoided by limiting the exposure to excessively loud sounds and by turning down the volume when listening to music : a person may receive the same “noise dose” by listening to music at 80 dB for 8 hours as they would by listening to music at 100 dB for about 4 minutes. Such simple preventive measures can help limit the damage caused by headsets and earbuds. In general, it is recommended to stay away from loud sounds, but when this is not possible, to wear hearing protection devices.
If any symptom appears, including slight hearing loss or temporary tinnitus, it is essential that patients seek help from audiologist or any other qualified professional to identify potential causes of hearing damage and to limit them. Prevention and screening are key in saving younger generations from hearing impairment.
Compliments of CILcare – a member of the EACCNY.