While hearing loss is a problem generally thought of as a lifelong condition or one which begins with old age, more and more young teens are seeing a decline in their ability to hear. The World Health Organization has estimated that a staggering 1.1 billion teenagers may lose their hearing in the future due to headphone use. In-ear headphones, also known as earbuds, are a particular concern as they blast music directly into the ear canal. Around 20% of US teens already have hearing loss, and young Australians aren't exempt from the damaging effects of earbud use.
While it's unlikely you'll be able to ban your teen from using headphones altogether, there are some rules you can set to minimise the negative effects. Try to encourage your teen to follow these 2 main guidelines.
Keep the Noise Down
The WHO recommends that the maximum amount of time someone can be exposed to 85Db of sound is 8 hours a day, while 100Db is acceptable for no more than 15 minutes. Many MP3 players can exceed this volume, and teenagers generally enjoy having music up at full blast. Try to encourage your teen to keep the volume down to a reasonable level; this is also safer when out and about, as it minimises the chances of accidents. If they refuse to lower their volume, you may be able to change the volume limit of their MP3 player or smartphone in the device's settings. You can also try replacing their usual earbuds with noise limiting headphones.
Less is More
Simply put, the less time your teen spends using earbuds, the better. Most teenagers will use their headphones to make their journey to and from school feel less taxing. If they're using earbuds outside the house where you can't monitor them, you should limit use inside the house. This doesn't mean stopping your child from listening to sound altogether. You may have been encouraging them to use headphones at their computer or console to avoid disrupting the rest of the family, but consider allowing them to play the music or game sounds aloud at a reasonable volume. This may take a bit of getting used to for the rest of the family, but it will make your teen's hearing stronger in the long run. If they do need to use headphones at home, make sure they take regular breaks throughout the day.
If your teen has already been listening to loud music for long periods of time, they may already have some degree of hearing loss. Unfortunately, teenagers won't always readily share this information with their parents, so you should always look out for the signs yourself. Many common teenage problems can actually be signs of hearing loss. Problems in school and bad grades can indicate an inability to hear the teacher. You may also find that they can't hear you calling them from another room or even the same room if you're talking at a normal level. They may shout or mumble too much, turn their TV, computer, or console up too loud, and become reclusive.
If you do suspect hearing loss in your teen, make sure to contact a medical professional so they can be referred to an audiologist. Don't worry too much if your child has lost some of their ability to hear; teens with hearing loss can lead normal lives with the use of assistive technology like hearing aids.Share
13 January 2017
I have tried to quit smoking three times over the last few years, but it never really stuck. My mother just got diagnosed with lung cancer, and it's given me the wakeup call that I have been waiting for. I have quit smoking again, but this time I spoke to my doctor before I started and it's made a lot of difference. He organised some nicotine replacement products and counselling to help me quit for good this time. I have started this blog to let people know how much easier it is to quit when your doctor is helping you.