Tags: teens | deaf | hearing | ear | bud | dangers

Generation Deaf: Doctors Warn of Ear Bud Dangers

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 03:06 PM



An entire generation is at risk of hearing loss. The World Health Organization recently released data suggesting that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk of facing hearing loss or damage. The biggest danger comes from ear buds, small earphones that fit directly into the ear, and are used in modern devices such as cellphones and iPads, but loud entertainment venues also cause permanent hearing damage.

According to WHO, almost 50 percent of young people aged 12 to 35 years are exposed to risky levels of sound from using personal audio devices, and about 40 percent are exposed to unsafe levels sound levels at entertainment venues, such as dance music festivals where music is ramped up to 120 decibels for hours.

Listening to music for 15 minutes at 100dB, a typical noise level in a bar, nightclub, or at a sporting event, can damage hearing.

"As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss," said Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.

"They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back," Krug said. "Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk."

"Probably the largest cause [of hearing damage] is millennials using iPods and [smartphones]," says Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, an ear, nose, and throat specialist from Munster, Indiana. He advises patients to stop wearing headphones, and to avoid ear buds, which boost volume even more than headphones.

Noise can reach damaging levels quickly, Cherukuri tells NBC News. "It's very easy to achieve unknowingly," he said.

WHO says teens and young adults can protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal devices, such as iPods, wearing earplugs in noisy venues, and wearing noise-cancelling earphones and headphones when possible. WHO also advises using personal audio devices for less than an hour a day, and to take breaks when involved in noisy activities.


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An entire generation is at risk of hearing loss. The World Health Organization recently released data suggesting that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk of facing hearing loss or damage. The biggest danger comes from ear buds, small earphones that...
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2015-06-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 03:06 PM
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