Ready to get your mind blown? 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 years of age are currently at risk of hearing loss. Here’s where things get scary: most of that hearing damage goes undiagnosed. According to a recent study, “very subtle hearing damage can occur which is not detectable” by the instruments that audiologists regularly utilize.

So, what’s going on? How is it that over a billion young people are on the path to suffering hearing damage, but most of us have never even heard about it?

Here’s everything you need to know about young people and noise-induced hearing loss.

What is Noise-induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is hearing damage arising from repetitive exposure to loud sounds (or immediate exposure to very loud sounds). According to the CDC, around 17% of children and 17% of young adults already suffer from NIHL. For the millions that don’t, you’re at risk of developing NIHL in the future.

NIHL is a byproduct of our digitally-driven, modern lives. Loud concerts, headphones, loud video game noises, and instruments can all cause permanent hearing damage, especially when they’re consumed regularly. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIHL) says that sounds at (or above) 85 decibels can cause NIHL. So what kinds of sounds are those? Damaging sounds include:

  • Movie theaters (up to 104 decibels)
  • Motorcycles (up to 110 decibels)
  • Music from headphones (up to 110 decibels)
  • Music at concerts (up to 140 decibels)
  • Sirens (up to 130 decibels)
  • Fireworks (up to 160 decibels)

All of those semi-regular sounds can cause NIHL. And, despite amazing treatments at your fingertips, the damage is still permanent.

Are You At Risk of NIHL?

If you regularly partake in any activities that produce decibels over 85, you’re at risk. If you go to a single firework show that’s extremely loud, you’re at risk.

Most of us are at risk.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable; you can take precautions.

Hearing protection is the single most important tool at your disposal in the war against NIHL. What most people don’t realize is that you can now find hearing protection specially designed for concerts and loud events that protect your hearing without muffling sounds and tones. So, what is that tiny bit of extra effort of getting hearing protection before you head to a loud event?

You have thousands of other concerts to attend, and tons of other firework shows to enjoy – so now is a great time to look into safeguarding your hearing; your future self will thank you!

Don’t forsake your hearing for a few extra decibels of sound. Visit your local hearing clinic and pick up some hearing protection. It’s an investment in your future.

Get Checked for NIHL Today

Undiagnosed and untreated hearing damage doesn’t go away; it gets much worse over time. If you or someone you know has been experiencing uncomfortable hearing loss symptoms, contact our team to see how we can help.

Virtual appointments and Express Patient Care are both available options during this time should you wish to receive the same 5-star hearing care most safely and conveniently possible.

We can also help you find the right hearing protection equipment so you can continue to enjoy the things you love without risking permanent damage to your ears.

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Dr. Kelly McElligott, Au.D.

Dr. Kelly McElligott is a dedicated clinical audiologist based at our Parkwest and Tellico Village practices. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, she started her career in a private practice, vestibular evaluations, pediatrics, newborn hearing screenings, and adult diagnostics before gracing us all with her talents here at PHC. Dr. McElligott’s motivation comes from helping her patients to improve their communication between family members, which is a truly heartwarming feeling for her.