Doctors and audiologists alike are reporting hearing loss in more people and at a younger age than ever before. You can blame a number of factors such as loud work environments, noisy streets and the deafening din of everyday life. But one overriding factor for the younger generation is the invention of wearable music players.
Even the CDC is getting in on the warnings, pointing out that one in eight American kids, more than five million of them, has a type of hearing loss that is usually associated with overexposure to loud noises. The JAMA estimates it’s could be one in six!
Back in 1979 when the Sony Walkman was introduced, the player would only run for a short while on a set of batteries and the volume of the music being played back was, shall we say, modest.
Fast forward 30 years and now we have wearable devices like iPods, iPhones, Zunes that can play music for 8 hours or more on a single charge and at a level that can drown out almost all of today’s external noise. Plus the trendy earbud can help drive those sound levels even higher — especially when wedged deep into the ear canal!
So if you don’t want to end up wearing hearing aids ahead of time (since almost everyone experiences some hearing loss as they age) – here are some tips to protect yourself from the negative effects of the modern world:
- Turn It Down! While it is fun to listen to loud music, remember that prolonged exposure can and will damage your hearing.
- Wear Protection! If you are going to a concert, club or even a large football stadium, the sound levels are certainly high enough to leave your ears ringing, or worse.
- Earbuds Are Not Hearing Protection! You will see this all over suburbia, teens mowing lawns during the summer with earbuds in. Think about how loud the average lawnmower is, then think of how loud that music must be to be heard, even somewhat clearly, over the noise of the mower just feet away.
The bottom lines is as a responsible adult you take care of yourself and that care should extend to protecting your hearing. And as a parent it might be time to talk to your kids about managing their exposure to loud sounds — especially things that are in their control, like the music they listen to all day, every day.
Source: JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. November 21, 2013