Written by Dr. Carey Philliposian, Doctor of Audiology
The CDC reports an estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years have permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to loud sounds. Noise-induced hearing loss can lead to communication difficulties, learning difficulties, pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus), distorted or muffled hearing, , and an inability to hear some environmental sounds and warning signals.
Ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss:
• Identify sources of loud sounds and reduce exposure.
• Turn down the volume of music systems (apps exist
to limit volume on most phones and MP3 players).
• Move away from loud sounds and use hearing
protection whenever exposed to loud sounds.
A hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist can determine if there is hearing damage. Regular hearing tests should start in the teen years. All newborns in California are tested and most children get a hearing screening in elementary school. Afterwards, it is often left up to teens to report when they’re having trouble hearing, or parents, teachers or doctors to realize something is wrong. Given that exposure to loud noise is often the cause along with many teens listening to loud music, the time for monitoring is now.