There are a few key things to listen for to check if you have some hearing loss.
Ask yourself if:
- You have trouble filtering voices of conversations among background noise.
- Your family complains that you watch tv or listen to the radio at too high a volume.
- You keep asking others to repeat themselves.
You are having trouble understanding the speech of women and children (higher frequencies are the first to lose after hearing damage has occurred).
According to a 2010 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hearing loss has increased in teens to 19.5 percent. That is a 30% increase over a study done just a few years earlier. What is to blame for this damage to hearing in our young, future professionals? Well, it’s not just the volume levels of PLD’s or Personal Listening Devices such as iPods, but the amount of time kids spend listening. Brian Fligor, an audiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, asserts that today’s teens listen twice as long as previous generations. With unlimited amounts of music and video storage as well as the extensive battery life and portable chargers now available, young people can listen throughout their waking hours (as well as in their sleep, which some report doing often).
After 17 year-old Matthew Brady of Mass., realized that he was often ‘faking it’ at understanding conversations with his friends at school, he had his hearing checked and was diagnosed with mild hearing loss. The young man stated that he believed this stemmed from running on the treadmill with his earbuds in and iPod cranked up with his favorite tunes. One day, after running for about 30 minutes with the volume turned up, he got off the treadmill and discovered he could not hear anything out of his left ear. It was soon after he began faking his reactions to what others were saying when he couldn’t actually hear their words clearly.
Hearing loss is not just for the old, nor are hearing aids.
Be sure to take your child to an audiologist on a regular basis to have their hearing checked, and by all means monitor the volume of and length of time they spend wearing those earphones. Many devices now come with built-in controls that allow the owner to set permanent volume levels and time limits. Our ears have to hear for us all our lives – taking better care of them sooner rather than later is always the right move, otherwise you may end up wearing hearing aids instead of earbuds!