Hearing Loss and Millennials

Hearing Loss and Millennials

In hearing health, hearing loss by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Most Americans think that hearing loss only affects seniors. It is true that age can affect hearing. However, it’s noise, not age, that’s one of the leading causes of hearing loss! Noise induced hearing loss affects people of all ages, not just seniors. Adults, teens, and even children can have hearing loss from exposure to dangerously loud noise.

What Noises Damage Hearing?

Noise induced hearing loss is caused by very loud noises in the environment. This can be anything from the construction site on the corner to the hallways of your child’s school. Noisy restaurants and bars, crowded sports arenas and concert halls, and even heavy traffic noise can all cause hearing loss. When you’re exposed to all that noise, the cells in your inner ear are damaged, and can no longer process sound.

One major culprit of noise induced hearing loss is listening to loud music with earbuds or headphones. Millennials often spend several hours of each day listening to music or audio. Both earbuds and headphones pump sound right into your ear canal, and you can easily turn up the volume to unsafe levels to block out background noises.

Discovering You Have Hearing Loss

Many younger Americans don’t realize they have hearing loss. While millennials across the country suffer from noise induced hearing loss, most don’t even know their hearing has been affected. Take a moment to think about the sounds you can hear. Noise induced hearing loss will often affect high pitched sounds first. Do you have trouble understanding when a child speaks to you? Can you hear the sound of birds chirping outside? You may also notice that in quiet places you can follow conversations easily, but when there’s background noise you struggle to make out what’s being said. This is an early sign that you have hearing loss.

Hearing Loss is Permanent 

Many younger adults have noticed changes in their hearing abilities, or felt the ringing of tinnitus in their ears after an especially loud concert. However, they don’t realize the significance of their hearing loss.  It’s important for millennials to remember that hearing loss is permanent. Once the cells in the ear have been damaged, they can never be repaired. When noise destroys these cells, you can never get that hearing back. Not only that, but as you’re exposed to more loud noise, even more cells in your ear will die, and you’ll experience more hearing loss.

Tips to Protect Your Hearing 

Regardless of your age, it’s important that you take steps to protect your hearing. Once you’ve lost your hearing you can’t get it back, so make sure you’re looking after your hearing health while you’re still young.

  • Turning down the volume: One of the best ways to protect your hearing health is to turn down the volume on your music. Never use the sound from your earbuds to block out background noise, since this noise on noise will lead to more hearing damage. Experts recommend that you avoid any volume higher than 60%. It’s also a good idea to take breaks and give your ears a rest. Take out your earbuds at least once every hour, and let your ears have a break.
  • Wearing hearing protection: Noise induced hearing loss is completely avoidable! When you are exposed to very loud noise, make sure you’re wearing hearing protection. It’s a good idea to carry earplugs in your bag, and be ready to put them in at concerts and sports events, and in bars.
  • Staying away from noise: You can also protect your hearing by staying away from noise. Avoid standing right beside a loud construction site, or going to an extremely loud event. It’s also a good idea to stay away from fitness classes that play very loud music, and move away from the speakers at concerts.
  • Getting your hearing tested: If you think you may have hearing loss, make an appointment to get your hearing tested. Living with untreated hearing loss affects your personal and professional life. You may struggle to finish tasks at work, and you’ll have a hard time following conversations with loved ones.

Schedule a hearing test to learn more about your hearing health and find out if hearing aids are right for you. Contact us today!