Beyond dengue, H1N1 and the large epidemics that have occurred over the years, the ones that have not been under the spotlight too much is the deterioration of the hearing among younger generations.
When looking for audio-devices with good sound quality, noise cancellation and amazing bass to pump those beats, has anyone ever checked if that includes making sure it is not harming their ears?
Wherever you look, you see young and some middle-aged alike, listening to their iPod or music on their phones. But, recent research has shown how dangerous listening to loud music on your headphones or earphones are for your hearing.
In addition, statistics have shown that hearing loss in teens today are around 30% more since the 1980’s and 1990’s. The World Health Organization has said that close to 1 billion youngsters could potentially face hearing loss, much earlier in their lives.1
Apparently, just as how irritating loud noises can be for one’s ears, even the amplification and concentration of sound directly on the eardrums can prove to be just as bad, and can have worse effects in the long run.
Besides electronic audio devices, even sounds from entertainment experiences such as movies in a theater, live music concerts, can be damaging, especially those which go above 120 decibels for over an hour.
However, the primary cause for impaired hearing, is pinpointed to sound devices especially if listened to via earphones or headphones, said, Indiana based, ear, nose & throat (ENT) specialist and founder of MD Hearing Aids, Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri.
It all started when the Walkman came about and you saw almost all kids in the late 80’s on it, covering their ears and playing music at a high volume on mere battery-operated devices. Those batteries would at least die out after a short while, but these days, you can play it for hours on end.
The damaging effects of placing a sound so close to the ear-drum especially above 9 decibels, happens when the sound goes all the way from there to the cochlea. This is a place which has around 20,000 hair cells and sends those sounds to be processed by the brain. And if that sound is too loud, or the eardrums have been exposed to it for too long, it can damage those sensitive hair cells or even kill them off.
Which is why some smartphones alert users of increasing volumes of their music above 50%. This is because the damage can happen within 15 minutes, is quick and cannot be undone.
Lately, there have been more and more people in their 20’s and 30’s that are coming to doctors with tinnitus a primary symptom of hearing loss. But that is actually a pretty late indicator of it, because the audio-screening technology is not as advanced yet and does not detect earlier signs of hearing damage in children.
Moreover, a study in 2014 suggested that streamlined loud noises like these, can also destroy nerve synapses which are said to be a more sensitive to sound than those hair cells.
Even if the noise is but a moment, the damage it causes is permanent.
So here are some tips given by experts so you do not age your ears beyond your own years.
-Protect the ears of those who are young, by using the ’60/60′ rule. This means keeping the volumes of your audio devices, be it MP3 players etc. under 60% and listen to it for a maximum of 60 minutes per day.
-In noisy places, most people would turn the volume up to block it out, but instead of doing that, use those headphones like ear-muffs to block your ears from the sound.
-Parents’ could try putting their kids’ audio devices under parental controls, so the volume does not exceed a certain sound level, locking it with a password so their kids are protected from music that is too loud for them.
-Little kids can be given ear protection when they are in loud venues such as concerts, traffic, sporting events and wherever deemed necessary.
And yes, all older generations out there, while your hearing aged gracefully, the kids these days, could have hearing that is worse. So the next time, you could troll them for that to your heart’s desire, till they do something about it.