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 WHOThis 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. 

We are proud to offer Telemedicine appointments, where one of our physicians will call and provide assistance remotely. Contact us or call us at (480) 684-1080, if you have any questions or concerns.

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Dr. Debra L. Hamila, Au.D., CCC/A

Debra Hamila received her master’s degree in audiology from Cleveland State University and her Au.D. from Arizona School of Health Sciences and has been a practicing audiologist for more than 33 years. She has worked in a variety of ENT offices, hospital, and clinical settings.
    You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again – Regina’s Story

    Regina has suffered from hearing problems since she was an infant, recognized as regular chronic ear infections. And, as with unfortunate events, she has experienced a multitude of audiology catastrophes.

    It was many years before Regina crossed paths with Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat; where her lifetime of hearing problems was addressed effectively and treated with the delicate care that she desperately required.

    Regina’s journey began when she was taken to a regular paediatrician by her mother from a young age. Her ears were, what we describe as an audiologists recipe for disaster, ‘flushed out’.

    This dangerous procedure caused a nasty infection, which spread to her mastoid bone and, at the age of 15, she underwent a tympanoplasty mastoidectomy to stop the infection spreading. This only forbade her future struggles with hearing loss. 

    As with poor diagnosis, Regina was faced with another canaloplasty which didn’t work. Soon after, she received a BAHA, which is a cochlear implant in her skull that acts as a sound processor that detects sound and transforms it into vibrations. 

    However, suffering from a history of poor hearing care, she was unaware of the former issues her ear presented.

    By now, this would be described as any audiologists nightmare. But, we’re proud to have helped Regina on her road to optimum hearing and reconnect her to her loved ones.

    When she arrived at Scottsdale Ear, Nose & Throat it was evident that she was losing hearing on her right side. At this point, she was fitted with a ReSound hearing device, which provided the catalyst to a new and improved hearing.

    The first thing Regina noticed was the indefinite sound she had been making whilst emptying the dishwasher, completely unaware of the noise she was making!

    “I mean, the detail that I can hear now it’s like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I was making that much noise. I need to be quieter!”

    Treated with professional care, Regina received a comprehensive hearing assessment with Dr. Debra Hamila.

    “I just love, love, love Dr. Hamila, she is such a professional and loving person. I was so impressed with the office and what she did with the ReSound, I just love her.”

    Like many others, it takes years for people to realize they have a hearing problem. Regina described this moment as life-changing.

    “You don’t realise you’re walking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again. Especially now I’m a full-time Grammy Nanny, I can hear so much more and it has enriched my life incredibly.”

    What advice would you give to someone who is deliberating on taking the first step towards better hearing?

    “My advice to them would be to have a hearing test. Especially as we age our hearing goes down. It’s really unfortunate that people carry their pride and are not willing to learn to walk with the rock in their shoe. You don’t realise you’re waking with a rock in your shoe until you’re able to hear again.”

    Regina is one of many patients who has been impacted by our audiological services and we are proud to have been able to provide the tool towards better hearing and a lifetime of many more memories.