By Jay Clark
Rima Himelstein, MD writes about the rising cases of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) among teens in her article for philly.com:
The fact is: our teens are risking hearing loss. Sound scary? It is. Ear buds are basically tiny little speakers worn in the ear canals. When ear buds are used to listen to high-volume sound over a long period of time, they can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Our teenagers may painlessly, gradually, and unknowingly be experiencing just that. Here’s the data:
One in three people develop hearing loss as a result of exposure to extreme noise.
More than 5 million children between the ages of 6 and 19 report NIHL.
Hearing loss in U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 19 increased from 14.9 to 19.5 percent since 1990.
Himelstein writes that these NIHL cases are likely a consequence of the growing use of iPods and MP3 players, which has increased from 18% to 76% between the years 2005 and 2007. She further says that an MP3 player produces sound with the same loudness as a chainsaw, with both registering 100 decibels (dB). Concerts of any genre, which many teens also like attending, produce sounds with 110dB.
NIHL can start developing from constant exposure to noises over 85 dB, making someone who frequently listens to their MP3 player at maximum volume highly vulnerable. Himelstein suggests parents should make their children turn down the volume of the players to no more than 60% of the maximum, and limit their listening time to 60 minutes a day. When attending concerts, hearing experts advise that wearing hearing protection devices, such as ear plugs, can protect your ears from damage.
The best hearing protection devices, like those made by Ear Peace, can reduce noise levels without distorting sounds, making them ideal for listening to music. Additionally, ear plugs made of silicone are comfortable to use due to the silicone's soft and flexible qualities; furthermore, they can easily fit into the ears' canals, making them less visible, and therefore less embarrassing for teens to wear. Aside from encouraging their teenaged children to turn down the volume of their MP3's and iPods, parents should also insist that they use ear protection when going to concerts.
(From Noise-induced hearing loss: Maybe our teens really can’t hear us, Philly.com, Jan. 24, 2013)