Hearing Loss in Teenagers
Can They Hear?
Although we always think teenagers are simply ‘tuning out’, more and more teens are experiencing hearing loss than ever before.
Hearing loss in young people is becoming an increasing problem and is currently 30 percent higher now than it was in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The invention of the mp3 player was welcomed by Generation Y, but now the average teenager is listening to loud and potentially damaging music for several hours a day.
One in Five
Over 90 percent of young people in Australia listen to amplified music through headphones, and are listening for twice as long, and at louder volumes than teens of previous generations. Unfortunately, they tend to under estimate how much noise they are exposing themselves to, and in turn, underestimate the damage they are doing. More and more research is showing an increased risk of hearing loss associated with the use of headphones.
However, teenagers seem oblivious to the potentially irreversible effects of their harmful habit, even though one in five teens now has a slight hearing loss.
Teenagers with hearing loss may struggle with social skill development, learning and self-esteem, and to others it may seem like they are not in touch. Adolescents are very aware when someone is unable to respond as quickly or contribute as easily to a conversation, and there is a risk that they may become ostracised. The issue itself may lie in the attitude of teenagers, many of whom think to hearing loss wont affect them. Hearing loss due to noise exposure can be so gradual and not perceptible, meaning they are unaware of the damage they have done until it becomes too late.
Use the 60/60 Rule
We all must take caution by turning down the volume when using headphones, as well as by wearing ear protection at rock concerts, or when exposed to loud sounds for long periods of time.
A good rule to live by is the 60/60 rule: Listening for no more than 60 minutes at a time and at 60 percent of maximum volume.
A small change in lifestyle can lead to a huge decrease in the risk of hearing loss. Once hearing loss is evident, the damage is irreversible, so we encourage teens to be proactive in protecting their ears from the harmful sounds that are all around us.