World Tinnitus Day: Jack Roache, Restored Hearing – Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Affecting Youth
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over one billion young adults and teens are at risk of losing their hearing. The main cause of this is from not using hearing protection while in loud environments. Chris Martin of Coldplay has been suffering from Tinnitus for over 10 years and is warning the younger generations about the need to protect their hearing.
The iPod Generation
Around 85 decibels is the noise level which is very likely to cause hearing loss if exposed for a long time. Listening to an MP3 player at 95 decibels or going to a nightclub where the volume of the music can reach 104 decibels can be very damaging to our hearing. With the current technology, earbud headphones can typically reach a maximum volume somewhere between 85 and 115 decibels. If always listening at such a high volume, it can eventually lead to hearing loss. Studies have shown that typically in noisy environments, the volume of the music player will be increased and can reach dangerous levels. This is caused by needing to have the volume of the music be loud enough to be heard over the environment. The Journal of Pediatrics reports that 12.5% of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 are reported to have some form of hearing loss. This staggering statistic is caused by kids listening to music at high levels along with them attending the loud environments of nightclubs, concerts, and music festivals without the proper hearing protection. Earbuds allow the music to go straight into the ear canal which can be extremely dangerous if listening at an unsafe volume.
Teens typically know the risks of not protecting their ears but don’t seem to care. A recent study done by Siemens Hearing Instruments revealed that 88% of teens said that they engaged in risky behaviour that they knew could cause problems for their hearing. Ipods and MP3 players can be more dangerous for our hearing than going to a club or a concert because of the continuous exposure at such a high decibel level. Steps can be made to make it a safer experience for your ears while listening to music. It can be as simple as reducing the amount of time spent listening to music, wearing earplugs to loud concerts, and by reducing the volume to below 60% on the portable music player.
Festivals like Ultra, Coachella, Lollapalooza and the many others can be very damaging to your hearing if you choose to not wear any hearing protection. The decibel level averages around 100 for these different kinds of music festivals. These festivals typically last 3-4 days which can be extremely straining on your ears. Realizing the damaging effects, festivals have even started to make an effort to help protect against hearing loss. For instance, The Ultra Music Festival mailed their tickets to their attendees along with a bandana, sunglasses, and ear plugs. This is an important step in order to raise awareness about the harmful effects of music festivals and also allowed the attendees to protect their ears without having to go purchase their own ear plugs.
Around 50 attendees of a music festival in Amsterdam were observed to see the effects on their hearing due to the intense volume of the music. Half of the 50 were given earplugs to wear and the other half were not given any hearing protection. Those that wore the earplugs only saw a temporary shift in hearing of 8%, while those not wearing them saw a temporary shift of 42%. The researchers also observed that the percentage of tinnitus for those not wearing hearing protection was 40%, compared to the 12% by those with ear plugs in such a loud environment.
Scientists from Harvard Medical and Massachusetts Eye and Ear have discovered that just one night out at a loud club can cause permanent damage to your hearing and damage the nerve fibres. The Dublin Institute of Technology has found the average decibel level inside nightclubs typically ranges from 89 to 97. This is an alarming fact since any volume over 85 decibels can be damaging to your hearing. Safety laws in the EU require workers to wear hearing protection if they work in a setting of 85 decibels or more. This is shocking considering how teens and young adults are going to clubs which greatly exceed that level of volume.
Tinnitus in Young Adults
Tinnitus is becoming more common in teens and young adults given the rise of new technology along with the various loud environments such as nightclubs and festivals. A condition which usually would only affect people who were over the age of 50, tinnitus has found its way to teens and young adults of today’s society. With nightclubs and music festivals having the music volume at unsafe levels, hearing loss and tinnitus are becoming a real concern for the youth all around the world.
These teens and young adults understand the risks to their ears but choose to do nothing to protect their hearing. This is causing tinnitus to become a serious problem for young adults and it only seems to be getting worse.