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Image of young woman wearing earbuds.

Hearing loss does not discriminate when it comes to age. More young adults and teenagers are developing hearing loss earlier because of noise-induced damage.

By The Numbers

The millennial generation is people born between 1981 to 1996. One in five millennials suffer from hearing loss, but this phenomenon affects younger generations too. About 17% of teenagers ages 12 to 17 also suffer from some degree of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

What’s Causing It?

One of the most prominent catalysts of youth hearing loss is earbuds. Listening technology is louder than it was in the past, and earbuds are closer to your eardrum. Cranking the volume puts the sensitive hair cells in your ears at risk for permanent damage.

Other potential causes include:

  • Noise pollution: As populations grow and cities become packed, noise increases with traffic, construction, and daily activities.
  • Media: Outlets like smart devices, television, and podcasts provide a readily available stream of noise. Long-term exposure, even to noises at a low volume, puts your hearing at risk later in life.

Hearing damage begins at 85 decibels. You could easily expose yourself to noises at that volume by walking down the street. People often use music or entertainment to drown out an already noisy environment increasing the risk twofold.

It’s Preventable

There are easy things millennials, or anyone can do to protect their hearing now and preserve it later. Be mindful of your surroundings and identify potential sources of noise damage.

  • Turn down the volume: Listen to music or other media at 60% volume capacity for no longer than 60 minutes. There are also free apps to track decibel levels so you can monitor your exposure.
  • Invest in protection: It’s as simple as popping in a pair of earplugs at a loud concert or buying noise-canceling headphones. Noise-canceling headphones let you enjoy your music, so you won’t have to contend with noisy environments. Just be aware of your surroundings.
  • Take breaks: Regularly attending loud sporting events, clubs, or bars will easily increase your risk of long-term hearing damage. Move away from speakers or stay in for the night. Your ears work hard for you and need to rest just like the rest of your body.

Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte can get you on track to better hearing and preserve what you’ve got. Call us at 704-412-7975 or contact us online to learn more about our services.

- Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte
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