A recent Siemens Hearing Instruments survey of 500 teens, ages 13–19 found that almost half reported experiencing ringing, buzzing or pain in their ears after engaging in risky hearing practices. These include listening to excessively loud music or using lawn and power tools with no hearing protection. One in 6 teens admitted having these symptoms often or almost all the time.
The findings also revealed that although teens are aware of the risks, they still choose not to protect their hearing. Nearly 9 in 10 teens admit participating in activities they know may damage their hearing, with listening to loud music at the top of the list. Asked what their parents would do if they knew how loud their music was, most said parents would tell them to lower the volume or wear protective devices.
Music has always played a central role in teens’ lives, but over the past decade, the ever-present earbuds attached to popular smartphones have caused increasing concern among audiologists like Dr. Dena Riso. When combined with other potentially damaging sound environments (power tools, concerts, etc), the potential for future hearing loss is greater than ever. The good news is teenagers can protect their hearing.
Doctor Dena suggests the following steps –
• Prevention: The best way to deal with hearing loss is to stop it before it happens. Buying headphones instead of earbuds keeps some of the direct sound out of teens’ ears. Ear protection should always be used in loud environments like concerts, sporting events and when operating power equipment.
• Stop future damage: If teens do experience symptoms like ringing or buzzing in their ears, they should immediately turn down the volume, wear ear protection, or call us at Peninsula Hearing Center if symptoms persist.
• Sit in the middle: When going to a venue with loud music, sitting in the middle of the room helps reduce noise exposure.
• Help a friend: Teens should warn one another if they’re putting their hearing at risk. If you can hear your neighbor’s music over the headphones, it’s much too loud.
• Custom ear protection: Custom-molded musician’s earplugs and high-decibel earplugs are recommended for teens who play in bands or are frequently in loud environments.
Contact our office for more information on hearing loss prevention in teens and all members of the family.