Many of us can agree that it’s a loud world. Music and other forms of audio are almost constant in our environments – especially in the younger age groups – and it is almost a necessary factor when exercising, driving, relaxing, celebrating, playing, and even sleeping, for some. While music and having the ability to stream audio at any given moment isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is important to play it safe by watching the volume levels that you are exposed to.
This month, a group of clinical scientists released the results of a study that aimed to determine how frequently those between the ages of 12-34 are exposed to unsafe volumes. The results may surprise you. The study concluded that unsafe listening levels are so prevalent that over 1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss. This includes individuals who may not have access to hearing loss treatment which would enable them to continue working successfully and staying fully engaged with family and friends.
Currently in the U.S., age related hearing loss is the most common, and rates increase most significantly after the age of 55. The most recent MarkeTrak study published in early 2022 shows that around 1 in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. However, the study also found that since the last MarkeTrak study published in 2019, rates of self-reported hearing loss have also slightly risen in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups. Although not conclusive, it is widely believed that increased use of personal audio devices and loud environments such as concerts, restaurants, clubs, and bars are influencing the rise of hearing loss in younger adults.
What’s most important to remember is that noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. Reducing your amount of time in a loud environment, wearing hearing protection, and letting your ears rest from noise can help prevent permanent damage. More info on noise and hearing protection can be found here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created evidence-based standards and resources to raise awareness on unsafe listening conditions and urged member states to implement these standards. Increasing rates of hearing loss is important to both individuals and to society because of the strong links between living with untreated hearing loss and increased risks of social isolation, depression, cognitive decline, falls that lead to hospitalization, lower earnings, and higher healthcare costs overall.
If you believe that you are having difficulty hearing, it’s best to seek out help sooner rather than later. Let a licensed hearing professional know about your concerns and get a quick hearing test. There are more treatment options available now than ever, and many products are discreet and equipped with a variety of features to personalize your sound experience and to keep you fully connected. Learn more about hearing professionals and setting up an appointment near you at: https://www.hearing.org/about-hearing-professionals/