Study: Hearing Loss In Teens Worsening And You Can Blame Smartphones For This

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald June 09, 04:40 am

While listening to loud music and headphone use are nothing new, the current habits of teenagers could give rise to new health risks. A new study has revealed that today's teens are likely to suffer from hearing loss earlier than anticipated. In fact, it's already happening because of their attachment to smartphones and earbuds.

The study, conducted by experts from the McMaster University and published in the Scientific Reports, points out that teenagers are slowly developing tinnitus. This condition is characterized by a buzzing sound or ringing in the ears and the problem could grow worse over the years, leading up to hearing loss.

The researchers looked into the habits and activities of 170 kids from the ages of 11 and 17. They underscored how the kids like parties with loud music and love listening to music on their gadgets. 

At least 30 percent of their respondents already have symptoms of tinnitus, which should only typically begin developing at around 50-years-old, per Science Daily.  Additional tests revealed that while the teens can still hear fine, those who have the symptoms of tinnitus were more adverse to hearing loud noises. This suggested that they could have already triggered nerve damage due to their listening habits.

A hearing specialist not connected to the study said that smartphone use could also be a big contributing factor to why this risk is escalating. Technological advancements are too enticing to teenagers. "Nowadays we have smartphones that are extremely complex computers with high-level fidelity," said Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri via Today.

So, what should parents do? Larry Roberts, the head of the study, has one sure-fire solution to reduce the risk and it's actually simple prevention. He proposes parents mind their teens' listening habits and perhaps enforce the 60/60 rule: 60 percent volume and only for 60 minutes a day. "The message is, 'Protect your ears,'" he said.

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