Teenage hearing loss

By: Courtney Harrington


To help lower the risk of hearing loss at a young age, use earplugs to prevent damage done to cells in the ear. Photo courtesy of Bing images

            IPods, MP3 Players, and radios have all become huge parts of a teenager’s life. From jamming out to the radio while driving home from school to listening to an iPod on a long road trip, teens thrive on music. However, there is just one problem. On average, one in five teenagers are suffering from hearing loss due to excessively loud sounds such as playing music a little too loud.

            Since the mid ‘90s the percentage of hearing loss in teens has gone up 31 percent. If a teen is a victim of hearing loss, they may not even notice. Only one out of twenty teens suffers from worse cases which may lead to having troubles in following conversations. Surgeon Josef Shargorodsky said, “Studies show that even a small hearing loss can harm a child’s school performance, language development and social interactions.” Hearing loss can, over time, cause things such as school grades to drop, losing the ability to hear water dripping from the kitchen sink, and hearing someone whisper into another’s ear. It may even take parents a little while to notice it themselves. In today’s society, it is proven that relationships between parents and their teenagers are strained, which in return may make it harder for the parents to see evidence that something is wrong.  

            “Kids are growing up in a nosier world,” Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology, said. A study shows that 70 percent of the risk for hearing loss comes from using some form of portable music device, like an iPod. A study was conducted of New York college students to find that over half of the youth would listen to some form of music player louder than the recommended exposure levels, and are listening to music at 80 percent of the maximum volume for 90 minutes a day.

            Although most would assume that music is the cause for all teenage hearing loss, there are other sources for the problem. Mowing the lawn, attending a NFL Football game, and going to a theme park can all put a teenager at a higher risk for hearing loss. Many experts would suggest that teenagers wear foam earplugs or even headphones to help prevent the problem as much as possible. Health issues may also be a factor in increasing the risk of developing a hearing problem. Teens that are overweight or have diabetes are at a higher risk than others. Shargorodsky found that boys are more commonly affected and at a higher risk of losing their hearing.

            Loud noises present themselves left and right in the life of a teenager, from walking the streets of New York City to playing in the high school band. Experts say that the number of teenagers suffering from hearing loss is on the rise, and it is important to put into action the necessary precautions to prevent the problem. Doing little things like turning the volume down on the radio and wearing headphones at automotive races may make all the difference. Once the cells in a person’s ears are damaged, they are damaged for life.





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