It’s National Protect Your Hearing Month in October! This month, we’re focusing on the causes of hearing loss and how to avoid it. According to studies, one in every five Americans over the age of 12 has a hearing loss in one ear. It can occur as a result of workplace noise exposure and recreational activities such as sporting events or concerts.
Hearing Loss and young people
When we talk about hearing loss, presbycusis – the medical term for age-related hearing loss- often takes center stage. Still, a hearing loss in the aging population doesn’t represent a complete picture of hearing issues today. More and more, hearing loss is skewing younger, as young people are refocusing the conversation about hearing loss.
Noise and hearing loss
Even among younger demographics, hearing loss is heavily driven by noise exposure. Current research suggests that around one in ten Americans are exposed to noise pollution at volumes with the potential to damage hearing. At the same time, the World Health Organization estimates that the hearing risks for teenagers are significantly increasing as countries develop and urbanize.
Not only are teens and young adults surrounded by increasing levels of noise pollution, but they are also the first generation to grow up with the widespread prevalence of earbuds and personal music devices. While teenagers of the past have been playing their music too loud, the current generation has easy access to having dangerously loud music delivered directly to their ear canal. Personal music devices can permanently harm a person’s hearing while the damaging volume is undetectable to the outside observer.
Exposing kids to hazardous noise levels can do a lot of damage quickly and set the ball rolling towards significant noise-related hearing loss. As the issue becomes more prominent earlier in life, education and treatment are necessary.
Young people who experience hearing issues are waiting longer than average to have their hearing checked. That’s not encouraging because the average is already a wait of 7 years from when a hearing issue is first noticed until when a hearing exam is performed. Part of the problem is that many people don’t think that hearing loss happens to younger people. Changing the perception of who hearing loss affects is as important as considering what younger populations with hearing loss will face.
As the demographics of hearing loss shift, it is essential to adjust our approaches to education and treatment. Young people facing hearing loss will have to contend with how their hearing challenges impact them at school and on the job. Untreated hearing loss can limit a student’s classroom engagement and keep them from attaining their academic potential. In the workforce, untreated hearing loss can curtail a worker’s earning power and even put them in greater danger for accidental injuries.
With a rising rate of hearing loss in young people, increasing hearing exams conducted in schools to screen for hearing loss may help catch hearing issues early and raise awareness about healthy listening habits. While annual hearing exams become recommended as we age, it may be time to make them a lifelong habit, in the interest of treating hearing loss early, when hearing aids can be most effective.
Signs that young people are taking hearing loss seriously
As with so many things, young people are changing the conversation around hearing loss. When education and treatment are available, many young people with hearing loss embrace the assistance hearing aids can offer and fluidly adapt to the cutting edge of hearing technology.
This is an excellent sign because treating hearing loss can’t wait. As hearing loss develops, it worsens and warps the methods our brain uses to process sound further and further away from our “natural” process of hearing. This means that the later hearing aids are introduced, the less our hearing resembles its original state and the harder it is to adjust to using a hearing device.
Time to check your hearing
Hearing loss can happen to anyone, but when hearing issues arise, we can help. Our staff of hearing experts provides a personal approach to hearing care to everyone who walks through our doors. We tailor your hearing health journey to your lifestyle needs with comprehensive testing, individual-based analysis, and offering you the top brands in hearing solutions. This National Protect Your Hearing Month, When you experience hearing issues, don’t wait a day longer – set up your appointment with us today!