Over a year ago we blogged about new research that showed that 1 in 5 teens in the United States showing signs of hearing loss. Knowing this information we were shocked to read a new poll that came out from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital that shows many parents don’t think their teens are at risk.
The poll asked parents of teens ages 13-17 about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and despite the recent increase in hearing loss in teenagers, two-thirds of parents report that they have not talked to their teen about hearing loss. Even more shocking was the data that showed more than three-quarters of the parents polled believe their teens are not at risk.
Hearing loss in teenagers can lead to difficulties and frustration at school and in social situations. With NIHL damage to the delicate auditory system is not reversible, however damage is preventable. Below are some tips from our doctors that parents and teens can take toward hearing conservation:
Volume limiting headphones/earbuds: these devices look just like regular headphones or earbuds but limit the sound output to 85 decibels or less. That is a significant reduction in the sound allowing teens to listen for longer periods of time.
Ear protection: if you know you are going to be around loud sounds such as concerts or doing chores around the house use earprotection to safeguard your delicate auditory system. From over the counter earplugs to custom plugs from your audiologist, any effort to limit exposure to sound will make a difference.
Sound breaks: take out the earbuds, or step outside during a loud concert for a few minutes to allow your ears time to rest. Limiting the amount of exposure over time is important in preserving your hearing abilities.
We encourage parents to take the time to talk to their teens! Take a few minutes to educate each other on the dangers of NIHL and the ways in which it can be prevented on our website.