Teens Suffering Hearing Loss at an Alarming Trend
Research indicates that young people today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers have some hearing loss.
Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data collected from more than 4,600 12-to-19-year-olds in two ongoing federal surveys. The first covered 1988 to 1994, and the other 2005 to 2006.
The prevalence of hearing loss increased from 14.9 percent from 1988-94 to 19.5 during 2005-06, a rise of about 31 percent, the researchers reported to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some other interesting results from the survey:
- High-frequency hearing loss was more common than that in low frequencies
- Most of the time the loss was in one ear
- Girls were much less likely than boys to have lost some hearing
While the study did not examine specific reasons for the increase in teens, most experts agree that it is due to listening to loud music for long stretches of time on MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices.
The issue received national attention in March 2013, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the cause as his latest public health crusade, announcing a $250,000 social media campaign to caution young people about the dangers of too loud music on personal listening devices.
How can adults encourage young people to listen more carefully to stop this alarming trend? One good tip is to use the 60/60 rule. Listen to music at 60 percent of the max volume and for only 60 minutes.
Hearing professionals also encourage people to wear hearing protection when they go to concerts. Inexpensive ear buds are available for as little as a $1 that can significantly reduce the amount of potentially damaging noise at a concert without affecting the musical experience.