Take Action! – 12.5% of Kids and Teenagers Suffer from Hearing Loss

If you are a parent of a teen, like many of us here at ClearSounds are, you know that it’s challenging to convince teenagers to take preventative measures for their health and safety. To teens, 10 years from now is just impossible to imagine, 20 years is more than a lifetime away, and 30 years—well, teenagers can’t even fathom 30 years. But recent studies have shown that hearing loss in teens isn’t even taking 10 years or longer to appear. It’s happening now!

A study by the House Research Institute (reported by the Better Hearing Foundation) showed that only three of 29 teens wore protective ear plugs to a concert, despite receiving them for free, and being encouraged by hearing specialists to wear them. After the concert, 53.6% of the teens reported not hearing as well as they did before the concert, and 25% reported tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. While these symptoms mostly faded within 48 hours, it’s this exact type of prolonged exposure to loud noise that can permanently damage hearing, no matter your age.

And it’s not only concerts taking a toll on our teens’ hearing. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, an alarming 12.5% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 suffer from hearing loss as a direct result of chronic and loud iPod/MP3 player usage. Here are some tips (not just for teens) for enjoying music safely:

  • Follow the 60/60 rule. Only listen with ear buds for a maximum of 60 minutes per day, and only turn the volume up to 60% capacity.
  • Listen to music at volumes of no more than 85 decibels.
  • Use headphones instead of ear buds if listening to music for an extended period of time. Headphones do not channel the sound directly into the ear canal, and are therefore less likely to contribute to hearing damage. Unless you are using earbuds specifically designed for listening to music for an extended period of time, such as the ClearSounds Smartsounds Earbuds.

So, talk to your kids about hearing loss. We like to think of the ear protection revolution as something akin sunscreen. When we were young, we couldn’t comprehend a direct or immediate harm from the sun, and so most of us never wore sunscreen. In fact, many of us lathered up with baby oil every summer to get as dark a tan as possible. It took a campaign of knowledge and prevention to teach our kids to accept sunscreen as a natural, daily health requirement. Let’s do the same for hearing protection and safe listening habits—model the behavior and campaign for our kids’ hearing health.

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