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Hearing Loss on The Rise for All Demographics

two woman who are hard of hearing

Hearing loss is something that people often associate with old age. However, you don't have to be in your senior years to experience hearing loss. In fact, hearing loss is becoming more common across all demographics. There may be several reasons for this, including lifestyle habits leading to earlier hearing loss, as well as better and earlier diagnosis of hearing loss. 

If you're someone under the age of 60, you should be concerned about hearing loss too. While hearing loss is often related to aging, your hearing can also be damaged by things like listening to loud music or working in noisy environments. For younger people, hearing loss could be completely avoidable if they take the right steps. Taking care of hearing health is something that everyone should do as it can prevent hearing loss.

The Rise of Hearing Loss in Younger People

Although around half of people with hearing loss are aged 75 or older, younger people are increasingly at risk of hearing loss too. One of the most significant reasons for this may be the use of headphones and earphones to listen to music and other audio. Sounds above 85 decibels can damage your hearing if you are exposed to them for long enough, and having those sounds put directly into your ears could put you at even greater risk of hearing loss.

It can be difficult to tell if you're listening to something too loudly. You might start off with the volume fairly quiet but gradually turn it up until it's louder than it should be. Your phone turned up to its maximum volume is likely to be at least 100 decibels, and probably more. You could damage your hearing not just from listening to music and other media too loud but also from listening to it for too long.

The Consequences of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can have many effects on a person's life. For young people, it might become more difficult to keep up at school when it's harder to hear teachers or their peers. Extracurricular and social activities may also be tough if conversations are harder to follow or it's more difficult to hear instructions. Even issues of safety can arise when someone is unable to properly hear instructions or warnings. Younger people can find things challenging after leaving education too, presented with problems that might occur when they enter the workforce.

There are social issues that many people can struggle with if they experience hearing loss. At any age, hearing loss can make it more difficult to connect with others and socialize. Many people with hearing loss will withdraw or isolate themselves due to the difficulty of socializing and the effort required to maintain conversations with others. This can also lead to mental health issues, such as loneliness, depression and anxiety.

How to Avoid Hearing Damage from Headphones

Having your music, games, podcasts or other media turned up too high while wearing headphones or earphones could damage your hearing. Fortunately, it's easy to avoid turning the volume up too loud.

Many phones are programmed to only turn up the volume to a certain point before checking if you want to go any higher. They will give you a warning to let you know that the volume could damage your hearing if you turn it up louder. Having this feature turned on can help to prevent you from absent-mindedly turning up the volume until it gets too loud.

Another way to avoid turning up the volume to damaging levels is to get noise-canceling headphones. People will often turn up the volume to block out other sounds around them, but this isn't necessary when you have noise-canceling headphones that will filter out background noise. Over-the-ear headphones may also be better for you than earbuds.

Limit your use of headphones to around an hour each day if you can, and avoid turning up the volume to more than 60%.

How Hearing Tests Can Help

Regular hearing tests help to keep your hearing healthy. They ensure you pick up on hearing problems quickly so that they can be treated with hearing aids and other methods. Hearing aids can improve quality of life for anyone of any age, enhancing their hearing so that they can continue to participate in everyday life and even prevent health problems in later years too.

Learn more about how Affordable Hearing can help you with your hearing instrument needs. Call our Irmo office at 803-749-6017 or our Orangeburg and Santee office at 803-531-6403.