Article at a Glance
• Experts see a correlation between earbuds and an increase in hearing loss among adolescents.
• When using headphones or earbuds, be sure to listen at lower volumes and avoid using them for long periods of time.
• Not all hearing loss is immediate. Teens might not notice any damage to their hearing until they are older.
Thanks to earbuds your teenager can listen to her music without blaring it through the whole house. But the short-term gains may not be worth the long-term losses.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five teenagers in the U.S. between the ages of 12 and 19 years have suffered some hearing loss. Compared with teenagers thirty years ago, these numbers have increased by more then thirty percent. Many believe that personal music devices are responsible for the increase.
While it is difficult to prove that earbuds are the chief culprit, experts definitely see a correlation.
Earbuds channel the sound directly into the ear canal and trap any pressure created into the ear. In contrast, larger headphones allow a lot of the sound and pressure to be bounced out of the ear canal.
While teenagers might not notice any damage to their hearing until they are older, it is important to teach them how to protect their hearing now.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing
• Don’t listen to music at maximum volume, especially when using headphones or earbuds. Turn it down to the 50 to 70 percent range.
• Don’t use headphones or earbuds for long periods of time. Even at lower volumes, it can cause long-term damage.
• Use earplugs when exposed to loud noise, for example at loud concerts, monster truck rallies, or while mowing the lawn.
• Get your hearing tested on a regular basis and report any problems with your hearing to your doctor immediately.
For More Information:
Earbuds might be more damaging than previously thought (Deseret News)
Study: 30% increase in teens with hearing loss (SFGate)