You may think that hearing loss only affects older adults, but that is not entirely true. In fact, there are nearly 8 million people who are between the ages of 20 and 29 years old who are experiencing some form of hearing loss. This according to a February 2017 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. These numbers mean that nearly 10 percent of the entire Millennial generation are experiencing some form of hearing loss. The numbers of young people experiencing hearing loss increase when we consider teenagers: studies have found that there 1 in 5 teens has some form of hearing loss. This is about 30% more teens experiencing hearing loss than were reported in the 1980s and 1990s.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be caused by both biological and environmental things. It is often caused by exposure to loud noises, be they temporary flashes of loud sound caused by explosions or gunfire or sustained exposure to loud sounds that happen in workplaces that use heavy machinery. Of particular concern to millennials are sustained exposure to loud sounds in recreational venues such as music venues or even sports arenas. One area of concern for hearing health professionals is headphones. People often use headphones for hours during the day, concentrating the sounds of music and podcasts very closely to the ear drum—and blasting these sounds as loudly as possible to drown out the outside world.
Preventing Hearing Loss in Younger Populations
It is important for Millenials to address the signs hearing loss, in part because research has shown that there are links between hearing loss and cognitive issues including dementia, anxiety, and depression. Another reason for younger people to be concerned with their hearing health is perhaps more superficial, but has its own consequences: money. A 2012 study published in the journal Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that people with hearing loss can earn significantly lower wages. For the nearly 6 million people who are experiencing hearing loss, including the growing number of millennials and teenagers, establishing healthy hearing habits will continue to be critically important.
Healthy Hearing Practices
There are several steps Millenials should consider taking to effectively address hearing loss. Setting up an appointment with our team at Posey Hearing Center is a good first step. We provide safe and non-invasive hearing tests. Our team is skilled at helping people understand and establish a hearing health plan that best suits their needs.
One step in addressing hearing loss may be securing hearing aids. Luckily for Millenials, the large, ugly, and costly hearing aids of yore have been replaced by affordable and stylish hearing aids that are technologically advanced and they come in small, nearly invisible varieties as well as inconspicuous behind-the-ear versions.
Many contemporary hearing aids come with Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi capability, and many of them allow you to easily adjust the volume and directional microphones. More advanced models come complete with GPS signaling that makes it possible to save your hearing settings depending on where you are, and there are other models that are virtually sweat- and waterproof, helping to continue an active lifestyle.
Watch Your Noise Levels
Apart from consulting with us at Posey Hearing Center, there are other ways for Millenials to address hearing health. Limiting exposure to loud settings or simply having ear plugs on-hand goes a long way in preventing hearing loss. Audiologists agree that sounds over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss—riding a New York City subway train can easily approach 100 decibels, and a busy city street can be around 80 to 90 decibels. Having ear protection in these everyday settings is critically important.
Another thing to do is replace in-ear headphones with over-ear headphones. In-ear headphones are closer to your ear drum and can increase the sound by upwards of 9 decibels. We often listen to our headphones at higher volume when in already-loud spaces such as public transportation spaces, increasing the risk of hearing loss. No matter what form of headphone you’re using, a good rule of thumb is the 60-60 rule: listen to music through your headphones at 60% of maximum volume for a maximum of 60 minutes.
Posey Hearing Center
Millenials can and should take care of their hearing in order to ensure lasting hearing health. Doing so is part of maintaining overall healthy body, and ensuring that passage into further adulthood is done with the utmost care. At Posey Hearing Center, we’re here to help. Contact us to learn more.