Teens begin to suffer from hearing loss at a young age

July 31, 2015

If you are listening to music right now, you might want to turn the volume down…or maybe even off. According to nbcnews.com, over 6.5 million teenagers in the United States suffer from hearing loss caused by listening to music at a high volume.

Whether at a concert, listening to music through an iPod or watching TV, exposure to loud noises for any given time period can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss or constant ringing to the ear, known as tinnitus. These health issues are commonly seen in individuals around 65 years of age, however hearing loss is becoming more prominent in younger audiences nowadays. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of teenagers between the ages of 12 to 19 have hearing loss to some degree.

Using earbuds is one of the most popular, convenient ways to listen to music for modern youth; however it is also the most dangerous. Earbuds get jammed into the ear canals and the music vibrations directly hit the eardrum. When these noises hit the eardrum, sensory cells gradually start to die and permanent hearing loss starts to appear. The louder the music is, the more damage is being done to the sensory cells.

If teenagers continuously listen to music at a high volume, especially through earbuds, their hearing will be noticeably worse—or even gone—by the time they are adults.

“For the typical 17 year old, [hearing loss is] not something they notice at all,” said a New Jersey otolaryngologist, Dr. David Lewis, to northjersey.com. “The earlier signs start to affect them as they get older.”

Luckily, there are many preventions that can protect one’s hearing. One of the most efficient ways to prevent hearing loss is limiting the amount of music listened to each day.

“You should only use MP3 devices at levels up to 60 percent of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes a day,” said Dr. James Foy, a Californian Osteopathic, to the American Osteopathic Association. “The louder the volume, the shorter your duration should be.”

Hearing is one of the most vital senses the human body has, and damaging it at a young age permanently affects individuals for the rest of their lives. The next time you decide to go to listen to your favorite song, remember how important hearing is and turn the volume down a little.

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