U.S. teenagers with serious hearing issues continue to increase as there was a reported one-third rise over the past 20 years, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
There has been growing concern related to hearing loss and other permanent damage due to earbuds used with MP3 players, mobile phones, and many portable electronics.
Also published in the study, one out of every five U.S. teenagers between 2005 and 2006 suffered from some type of hearing loss. The higher figure was a 30 percent increase (roughly 6.5 million people) from similar research collected through 1988 and 1994, with that number expected to increase further in the following years.
In a published study two years ago, researchers discovered as many as 10 million EU residents of an estimated 50 to 100 million daily listeners put their hearing at risk.
Schools may have to work with parents to begin educating students on the serious dangers to hearing loss due to excessive volume levels. It’s important to try and teach these kids in elementary, middle and high school to protect their hearing.
Meanwhile, research and development into safer listening devices and continued studies helps to inform the public about safe hearing levels.
In 2008, the European Union considered reducing the 100db sound limit on MP3 players — and MP3 player makers in the U.S. have been asked to do the same — but manufacturers say that they cannot remove the right for someone to listen to their MP3 player at a louder volume.
Last December, Apple had a class-action lawsuit dismissed accusing the company of not doing enough to prevent hearing damage due to volume levels — but none of the plaintiffs suffered hearing loss due to listening to their players.
Manufacturers also have taken a step in the right direction by redesigning earbuds and audio devices. For example, audio specialist Ultrasone created a new S-Logic technology that directs sound to a different part of the ear — offering relief to the eardrum and inner ear.
Let’s hope that continued efforts are made to educate consumers and especially children on the dangers of hearing loss due to excessive volume levels.