1.1 billion young people between 12 and 35 years-of-age run the risk of developing hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings, according to the WHO. This statistic shatters the myth that hearing loss only affects the elderly. My concern for the hearing health of individuals in the Scottsdale area, regardless of age, motivates me to raise awareness concerning the prevention of hearing loss while you’re young.
How Do Young People Lose Their Hearing?
Damage to the hearing of young people produces a permanent hearing loss, usually from exposure to damaging noise levels for an extended period of time. Sound becomes damaging at levels higher than 90 decibels (dBA). In most recreational settings like sporting events, concerts or listening to music through earbuds exceed 100 dBA levels and sometimes even go beyond 110 dBA.
The Dangers Associated with Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is the result of damage to the minute hair cells in the inner ear. Their reduced capacity to conduct sound to the brain negatively affects how the brain processes sound.
The result of decreased sound processing capabilities contributes to a reduced capacity to hear higher-pitched sounds, the development of constant buzzing or ringing in the ears (tinnitus), a difficulty distinguishing conversations in noisy backgrounds, and the possibility of heightened sensitivity to everyday sounds. Without treatment, these damages can produce adverse effects on physical, mental, and emotional health as well as damage your career.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Hearing Loss in Young People?
Preventing noise-induced hearing loss is the preferred means of dealing with it, and there are some simple solutions to limiting its risks, including:
- Monitoring and limiting the duration and exposure to extreme noise events
- Ensuring that the volume on devices with earbuds remain at safe levels (50% or less)
- Wearing protection designed for professional or occupational use during recreational events
- Notifying a professional audiologist if you suspect hearing damage from an event
The Value of Professional Hearing Assessments for Young People
Pure-tone audiometry screenings cannot detect noise-induced damage in its early stages, returning clinically normal results. Professional hearing assessments, conducted by a doctor of audiology include considerations of lifestyle and occupational noise exposure, advanced testing methods, and access to advice and instruments for prevention or treatment of hearing loss.
Individuals who do not demonstrate a hearing loss that requires treatment benefit from a hearing assessment that establishes a baseline against which future hearing loss is measured.
Scottsdale Ear Nose and Throat Provides Professional Hearing Healthcare
Unidentified and untreated hearing loss, regardless of age, can reduce your overall quality of life through compromised mental and physical health.
The team and I at Scottsdale Ear Nose and Throat provide professional hearing healthcare through professional hearing assessments, preventative measures, and treatment solutions to restore hearing loss.
Our patients can take advantage of our professional hearing healthcare, which operates under strict CDC guidelines for in-person appointments to ensure your health and safety.