Safeguarding Hearing With This is Something Even the Young Should do

Young woman not protecting her hearing in a loud subway.

An estimated 50% of individuals over the age of 75 have some type of hearing loss and that’s why most people consider it an issue for older people. But despite the fact that in younger individuals it’s totally preventable, studies show that they too are in danger of experiencing hearing loss.

One study of 479 freshmen from three high schools discovered that 34% of those students showed signs of hearing loss. The cause? The thought is that mobile devices with earbuds connected are contributing to the problem. And everyone’s at risk.

Why do individuals under 60 experience hearing loss?

If others can hear your music, it’s too loud and that’s a general rule for teenagers and everybody. If you listen to sounds louder than 85dB (about the volume of a vacuum cleaner) for extended periods of time, your hearing can be damaged. A normal mobile device with the volume turned up to the max clocks in at around 106 decibels. In this scenario, damage begins to take place in less than 4 minutes.

While this sounds like common sense stuff, the truth is that kids spend upwards of two hours a day on their devices, frequently with their earphones or earbuds in. They’re playing games, watching footage, or listening to music during this time. And if current research is to be accepted, this time will only increase over the next several years. Studies show that smartphones and other screens stimulate dopamine production in younger kids’ brains, which is the same response caused by addictive drugs. Kids’ hearing will suffer as it becomes more difficult to get them to put down their devices.

Young people are at risk of hearing loss

Regardless of age, hearing loss clearly presents numerous challenges. For younger individuals though, after school activities, sports, and job prospects produce additional difficulties. Hearing loss at a young age leads to issues with paying attention and comprehending concepts during class, which puts the student at a disadvantage. Sports become especially challenging if you can’t hear coaches and teammates calling plays and giving directions. Young adults and teenagers joining the workforce can face unnecessary obstacles caused by hearing loss.

Hearing loss can also lead to social issues. Kids with damaged hearing have a more difficult time connecting with peers, which frequently causes social and emotional problems that require therapy. Individuals who suffer with hearing loss frequently feel isolated and experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Managing hearing loss often must go hand-in-hand with mental health treatment, especially during the important developmental stages experienced by kids and teenagers.

How young people can prevent hearing loss

Using earbuds or headphones for no more than 60 minutes per day and at a volume 60% of max or less (the 60/60 rule) is the first rule to adhere to. If your kids listen to headphones at 60% and you can still hear the sound while sitting close to them, you should tell them to turn it down until you can’t hear it.

It also may be smart to change back to over-the-ear style headphones and stop using earbuds. Earbuds placed directly in the ear can actually generate 6 to 9 extra decibels compared to traditional headphones.

In general, though, do what you can to reduce your child’s exposure to loud sounds during the day. You can’t regulate everything they do while at school or on the bus, so try to make the time they’re at home free of headphones. And you need to get a hearing exam for your child if you believe they may already be suffering from hearing loss.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.