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Is Our Technology Causing Us To Go Deaf?

Headphones and earbuds have become part of our everyday wear. On our commutes, in waiting rooms, at the gym, at the office, even at home, we seem to never be without a pair of earbuds jammed in to play the jams or listen to a podcast, or even to block out the ‘background noise’ of our busy worlds.

Have you noticed that your hearing isn’t what it used to be when you take the headphones off…?

In a recent article published on Thrillist.com, writer and self-professed earbud and headphone user, Joe McGauley asked our own Dr. Sreek Cherukuri about whether our high-tech, ear-wear is causing us to go deaf.

The answers he received were astounding, to say the least.

Our daily use of inner ear sound amplifiers is indeed linked to hearing loss being seen in our busy population at a much younger age than before.

“The myth I dispel most often is that hearing loss is a normal part of aging and a condition primarily of the elderly. The fact is, the majority of people with hearing loss are under 65,” Dr. Cherukuri told the author.

In fact, in a recent study in the Journal of the AMA (American Medical Association), there has been a 30% increase over the last thirty years in hearing loss among 12-19 year olds!

One of the problems with using earbuds is simply a matter of decibels. Most of our headphones and earbuds max out at approximately 115db (decibels) — which is about the level of sandblasting or a loud rock concert.

“At 115db or higher,” Dr. Cherukuri asserts, “keeping your volume at that level can cause permanent hearing loss is as little as 15 minutes. If you cannot carry on a normal conversation level with someone within 3 feet of you while listening to your music or podcast, then IT IS TOO LOUD.”

Keep that word ‘permanent’ in mind.

If you ignore the signs of hearing loss, this can lead to other, more significant consequences, such as poor performance at work, depression, balance problems, even a higher risk of heart disease and dementia.

Dr. Cherukuri notes that “the in-canal ear buds sit closer to the ear drum and can get 7 to 9 db’s louder than over-the-ear headphones.” He even makes his own children wear over-the-ear headphones and encourages his patients to do the same.

What can you do to avoid further loss from the everyday ear-wear?

Well, first you should get your hearing checked by your doctor who may then refer you to an audiologist, and invest in some good quality, noise cancelling, over-the-ear headphones.

“Noise-canceling headphones work by producing a sound wave 180 degrees out of phase with the environmental noise. Thus, we don’t have to overcome the background noise and can listen to our music or podcasts at a safer volume,” explains Dr. Cherukuri.

Visit us at MDHearingAid today to learn more about how to support better hearing and to see how we can help you in your ‘everyday wear’ today.