More and more young people have hearing problems. Various studies document a growing number of young people with hearing loss and tinnitus. The cause is that young people often listen to loud music on their smartphones. Obesity can also lead to hearing loss, according to study results.
One in four is hearing impaired
One in four 18- to 44-year-olds who regularly use headphones report hearing problems. That’s according to an American study. One in four New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 44 reports reduced hearing ability. Hearing loss was measured in 23% of people who used headphones at high volume for four hours a day at least five days a week. The researchers conclude that young adults who frequently use headphones at high volume should be prepared to experience ringing in the ears or hearing loss.
One in five have ringing in the ears
According to a study conducted among 4,000 Flemish students, one-fifth of high school students have permanent ringing in their ears as a result of excessive noise exposure. Furthermore, three out of four respondents have experienced temporary tinnitus. In contrast, only 5% use hearing protection, such as earplugs.
Few young people protect their hearing from loud noises and loud music. Scientists are therefore appealing to parents to promote awareness of hearing and noise.
An extensive study has shown the connection between hearing loss and feelings of loneliness, dejection, depression, anxiety, and their physical consequences. Younger people are more affected by the effects than representatives of the older generation.
Young people with hearing loss tend to develop psychosocial problems more than older people. This was revealed by the National Hearing Test, a study from the Netherlands involving 1511 people aged 18 to 70. Participants complete a series of online speech-in-noise tests and answered questions about their hearing and psychosocial well-being.
Participants were divided into age groups: 18 to 29, 30 to 39, and so on. The research suggests that the youngest group in particular experiences a clear link between poor hearing and growing feelings of loneliness. The 30 to 39 age group had a particularly high incidence of low mood and other physical effects. Those aged 40 to 49 frequently reported dejection, lack of self-confidence, depression, and anxiety. Physical effects, on the other hand, were particularly evident in the 50 to 59 age group. No clear characteristics emerged in the 60 to 70 age group.
The more severe the hearing loss, the more pronounced the health effects
In all age groups, severe hearing loss was also found to be associated with poorer health. For example, the risk of major depression grew at a rate of five percent per decibel of hearing loss. The likelihood of physical consequences and dejection grew at two percent per decibel of hearing loss. The likelihood of feelings of loneliness even grew at seven percent per decibel of hearing loss.
Young people more affected
A slight occurrence of dejection is considered a normal condition. It does not affect behavior in social contexts. Dejection to a greater extent, with manifestations such as worry, irritability, tension, concentration problems, and insomnia, can lead to depression. In addition, the affected person might tend to withdraw from social life. The same applies to professional life. This could explain why the effects seemed more severe in younger people than compared to older ones.
Among the 1511 participants, there were 546 men and 965 women. Overall, only 355 participants reported wearing a hearing aid. There were no clear differences between genders in the prevalence of psychosocial consequences.
Protect your hearing with simple tips
Enjoying your favorite music at the same time while protecting your ears is easy with the following little tricks:
- Not standing directly in front of the stage at the next concert protects the ears and provides more space for free movement.
- Enthusiastic fans can get into the front row with hearing protection such as earplugs.
- At the disco, it’s better to dance in the middle of the dance floor than right next to the speakers.
- When listening to music on the go, in-ear headphones should be avoided or at least turned down.
- You should also pay attention to the volume of over-ear and on-ear headphones and speakers on electronic devices.
- Our smartphone is smart – heeding its volume cues when the music gets too loud helps the ears.
- Finally, follow the 60/60 rule: don’t listen to music at a maximum of 60 percent volume for more than 60 minutes.
If you as a parent notice that your child often listens to loud music, talk to him about possible consequences and suggest our tips.
WHAT DOES HEARING LOSS DO TO US?
Only when a person has lost his or her hearing do you realize the impact it has on everyday life, studies, and social life. Without the sense of hearing, you can’t communicate properly because you can no longer understand what the other person is saying to you. It’s especially difficult on the phone – you may know this from your phone calls with grandma and grandpa. Orientation, for example in traffic, becomes insanely difficult because the hearing-impaired person can no longer perceive approaching cars. Parties become totally exhausting because it is difficult to follow a conversation in the tumult of voices and music. Hearing-impaired people, therefore, withdraw further and further – often unconsciously. In the worst case, hearing loss can cause depression because people feel lonely. The good news is that most forms of hearing loss can be treated excellently nowadays.
HOW CAN YOU HEAR BETTER AGAIN?
What makes the hearing loss so complicated is that it often goes undetected for a long time. Bit by bit, people get used to hearing worse. The lecturer in the lecture mumbles or speaks too softly. A habituation effect sets in. However, if friends or family keep telling you that you are constantly asking questions or the TV is turned up too loud, then you should go to a specialist in ear medicine: an ENT specialist. He will determine what the causes are and can suggest an appropriate therapy. In some cases, surgery can help, in many cases a hearing aid.
WHAT IS A HEARING AID?
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