Hearing Loss and Millennials

In Uncategorized by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
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Many of us have the standard stereotypical image of a person who has hearing loss. This person is older, perhaps holding a cane, and has difficulty hearing in loud contexts or talking to someone with a soft voice. And yet, seniors are not the only people who suffer hearing loss. Hearing loss is skewing younger and even reaching millennials.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss, and an estimated 17 percent of 12 to 19-year-olds in America are at risk of hearing loss caused by some noise. This hearing loss is permanent, and it doesn’t regenerate once the cells in the ear die, so those sounds are lost forever.

Why are millennials suffering from hearing loss?

There could be several reasons why Millenials are getting hearing loss at a faster rate:

  • More young people worldwide are choosing to live in cities, often noise-polluted areas where high volume noise is a daily fact of life.
  • Another thing to consider is the frequent use of headphones and earbuds, where the consumption of music, video games, and other media can be at ear-splitting rates. 
  • Similarly, leisure activities have become much louder with sporting events and concerts at decibel levels that are only safe to listen for a little while. 

Millennials have difficulty understanding the ramifications of their actions and even dealing with tinnitus-a ringing in the ears-may, not alert them to the effects of permanent damage to hearing. Young adults must wise up early on and practice healthy hearing practices before it is too late.

What can Millennials do to protect themselves?

While the statistics on millennial hearing loss are concerning, the good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is a condition that can be wholly prevented. A few changes in lifestyle can have dramatic positive effects on your hearing.

  • Stay away from loud noises as much as you can. Even if you are wearing hearing protection, your exposure to noisy environments still should be limited. Although we are aware of the noise from concerts, it’s also essential to recognize that many other daily activities like going to bars or restaurants also can lead to hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is often gradual and is created over months or years by an overall accumulation of noise exposure. Swapping one of your noisy events with a more sedate experience can work wonders. 
  • Adhere to the 60/60 rule. The 60/60 rule refers to the use of earbuds and smartphones – a huge culprit among younger generations in the increase of noise-induced hearing loss. The rule of 60/60 is straightforward, listen to your earbuds for no more than 60 minutes at no more than 60 percent of their maximum volume.
  • Wear hearing protection. For some reason, wearing hearing protection in social situations might still raise eyebrows, but they are paramount in protecting your hearing. Custom earplugs are a great option because they fit perfectly into your ear, making them comfortable and discreet. There are also more fashion-friendly hearing protective devices coming onto the market. 

Get tested before it is too late.

Millennials are at an age where they are more inclined to avoid hearing loss tests and treatment. With most hearing loss gradually developing, procrastinating can be easy. It’s important to treat hearing loss as soon as you or someone else notices it. The longer the hearing loss can develop untreated, the harder it becomes to adapt to hearing aids.

Many millennials wait for seven years before seeking treatment. Their hearing deteriorates further during this time, and they may experience social isolation, struggle to connect with their loved ones, and risk psychological conditions. Hearing loss among millennials can also hamper job prospects, and their lifetime earnings can be jeopardized.

Regardless of your age, if you have hearing loss, the best thing you can do is get your hearing tested. Not only will you be able to follow conversations with ease, but you can also develop personally and professionally with fewer roadblocks. Do not let hearing loss prevent you from reaching your potential. Contact us today for a consultation!