Do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear what I hear?

What you need to know about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in adolescents

(ARA) – Due to the increased use of earbuds, adolescent hearing loss is up 5 percent over the last decade, which now affects 20 percent of U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 19, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. It’s no surprise the increase in popular portable digital media player ownership from 18 percent to 76 percent over the past five years, along with frequent use at loud volumes, has contributed to young people losing their hearing.

“Since hearing loss in children and teens is on the rise, it is important for adults to play an active role in prevention and seek out methods to minimize hearing loss, such as understanding safe volume levels,” says Michelle Atkinson, vice president of Energizer North America Marketing. “Ensuring your children have the appropriate products can make a big difference in their lives.”

Noise induced hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud sounds and usually occurs gradually over time, according to the Better Hearing Institute. Since this form of hearing loss is painless and invisible, it would be difficult for you to detect the problem in your children and grandchildren. But, there are things you can do to help prevent NIHL.

“Even minimal hearing loss can result in educational and behavioral problems in children”, said Lara Noble, Au. D., CCC A, Chief Audiologist of the Center for Hearing and Speech of St. Louis. “It is important for people to practice safe listening habits with the kids in their life.”

Safe listening tips

* Turn it down. Get into the habit of listening to the TV, radio and personal audio devices at a softer level.
* Get high-quality earbuds with noise cancelation or sound isolation properties.
* Use 60 percent of a device’s volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time, since the longer the duration of exposure, the greater the risk.
* Download a noise meter app to determine the sound levels in your environment.
* For an affordable and effective way to protect your hearing, use earplugs.

Do you need a hearing aid?

Don’t miss out on important moments in your life. If you experience any of the symptoms below, you should contact your physician and ask for their referral on a hearing specialist:

* Your lack of hearing starts to interfere with your normal way of life.
* You have trouble understanding people on the phone.
* You have a hard time following conversations when people are speaking at the same time.
* You misunderstand others when they are talking to you.
* Your family and friends complain you’ve got the volume too loud on the TV or radio.

For more information on these symptoms, visit

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Potential hearing loss can occur…

* At a professional hockey game in one hour.
* Using earbuds with an audio device for 30 minutes.
* At a stadium football game in 15 minutes.
* While driving a snowmobile for 30 minutes.
* While riding a jet ski for 15 minutes.
* At a rock concert in 7.5 minutes.
* In a zumba class for 1.5 minutes.
* With a firecracker immediately.

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You may be experiencing inner ear damage if you are listening to music through earbuds and:

* The person next to you can hear your music lyrics.
* You cannot hear what the person is saying next to you.
* You are mowing the lawn.
* You experience ringing or pain in your ear after listening to music.
* You are listening to music for an extended period of time.
* You experience a temporary reduction in hearing quality.