We all know that hearing loss can be an inevitable part of aging, but why is it that hearing loss among teens and young adults is on the rise? Modern technology and a shift in lifestyle present many opportunities for excessive noise exposure among our youth, and 12.5% of kids between 6 and 19 have hearing loss from listening to loud music alone. Hearing loss among teens and young adults can lead to many challenges, both academically and socially, but unlike many causes of hearing loss, it is totally preventable. As a parent, it is your duty to protect your kids from excessive noise exposure. Here are some helpful tips!
1. Remember the 60/60 rule: New technology, like smartphones and iPods, has made it easy to store and stream a limitless amount of music. This leads to longer listening times. Encourage your kids to have no more than 60 minutes of listening time, at no higher than 60% maximum volume. With the help of smartphone apps, you can easily monitor safe listening levels.
2. Take Breaks: After 60 minutes, their ears need a break! Your kids should never fall asleep with their earbuds in.
3. Use Earplugs: Loud sporting events and concerts can really do a number on your ears! Make sure your loved ones are equipped with the proper protection. Symptoms like ringing in the ears and fullness are signs the noise exposure has been too loud.
4. Provide High Quality Ear Buds: Earbuds deliver direct sound into the ear canal without any sound buffering, which can cause damage if listening at an unsafe volume. Also, mediocre quality buds are unable to transit the bass as effectively, which tends to make you want to TURN IT UP! You should provide high quality ear buds that more effectively transmit the bass, or use headphones. And remember, if you can hear their music IT’S TOO LOUD!
Do you suspect your child is suffering from hearing loss? Ask the following questions:
1. Are they having trouble hearing other people’s voices clearly?
2. Do they have to ask people to repeat themselves?
3. Do you often have to ask them to turn the volume down on the TV?
4. Does it seem like they often find themselves missing jokes or parts of the conversation?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you might want to seek the help of a hearing healthcare professional.