Rich Roeper: Whether it’s from a concert that’s too loud, or music playing though our headphones, we do have a habit of abusing our ears, unfortunately. Joining us right now is Dr. Cherukuri. How did I do? Cherukuri.
Dr. Cherukuri: Hi. Very good.
Rich Roeper: Doctor, I’m going to call you from now on. You’re going to walk us through this. You’re the founder of the MDHearingAid. Doctor, the first thing I want to ask you is it seems like this is affecting younger, and younger people because of course they got the headphones going, the ear buds, they’re on the Bluetooth all the time, is that something that’s happening to younger, and younger people?
Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah. Traditionally, we think of hearing losses is a older person problem, but actually, 65% of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65. We’ve seen a significant increase in teens, and young adults with hearing loss over the last decade. We think part of the cause is the MP3 players with the loud headphones. Back in the day, the headphones, and the Walkman’s didn’t play that long and didn’t get that loud.
Rich Roeper: Yeah, and you know, we used to get the foam ones, or the over the ear ones, which still exist, but more … We have these little things too. There’s more of these little in-ear buds, and you see people cross walking down the street. That’s a whole other because they’re pretty putting their safety at risk as well.
Dr. Cherukuri: Right.
Rich Roeper: You also see people just on their phones with the ear pieces, and they’re yelling into their phones so they could be heard, and then people are yelling back at them. I think people probably are wearing headphones much more frequently than they did even a generation ago.
Dr. Cherukuri: That’s absolutely right, and now, the technology, the maximum volume of an MP3 player can get up to 115 decibels, which can cause permanent hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.
Rich Roeper: What are some of the early signs if someone is starting to experience this? What kinds of symptoms will they experience?
Dr. Cherukuri: They’d feel some ringing in the ears, potentially pressure or a fullness feeling, and then the other people around them might notice that they’re asking to repeat themselves, or not hearing what people are saying.
Rich Roeper: You hear that a lot people saying, “Sorry I can’t hear you,” and then people are getting louder, and louder. Tell us a little bit about the hearing aid we had.
Dr. Cherukuri: What we’ve identified is more, and more people that are younger have hearing loss, but they don’t want cranky old style hearing aids, so we’ve designed something we called the MDHearingAid FIT. It’s for fit, active adults. It fits in the ear, like an in ear music monitor, or something you’re wearing. It’s much more contemporary, it looks like an electronics or a tech piece, and it’s very, very contemporary, very effective hearing device for people that are starting to loss their hearing.
Rich Roeper: Because you still always use the other ear as a stigma to actually see people with hearing aids like that. Of course, way back in the day, people will talk about people being deaf and dumb, and all those terms that we don’t use anymore because they’re almost was associated with some sort of loss of intelligence, which of course is not the case. I think specially with young people who are going to be self conscious, something like this is going to make it a little easier for them to get used to wearing something like this.
Dr. Cherukuri: Absolutely. One of the things we tell people, if you’re young, you don’t think about it, but the damage you do now is permanent, one thing you can do is limit your volume to 60% of the maximum volume, and don’t listen for more than 60 minutes at a time without taking a a break.
Rich Roeper: That’s one of the things you want to do is you want to spend less time…Here, we’re talking about the 60/60 rule right here. No more than 60 minutes, and just 60 decibels as you mentioned. I know because all of us we have a tendency like when we get the new system, we get the new iPhone, or anything, we want to go all the way up. That’s actually even in terms of the quality of music. It’s not really meant to be played at that decibel level anyway.
Dr. Cherukuri: It’s not. I don’t have the answer for it, but in European countries, the iPhones and things are limited. The maximum output’s limited by the government, and in here, we don’t have those limits, so people are able to harm themselves without knowing it.
Rich Roeper: Yeah. That’s one of the great things of all the freedom we have, and we can do all kinds of lasting damage to ourselves. Thank you so much Doctor. Appreciate that. Everybody down there, turn it down just a little bit.