Hearing loss is often associated with older adults, but it is not solely a condition affecting the elderly. Recent studies have shown an alarming increase in hearing loss among young adults. Over a billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings. As such, it is crucial to understand the causes of hearing loss in young adults and learn about prevention tips to safeguard their hearing abilities.
Causes of Hearing Loss in Young Adults
There are many causes of hearing loss among young adults, but here are a couple of common ones:
1. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
Young adults are frequently exposed to loud noise levels, which can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Concerts, nightclubs, and listening to music at high volumes through headphones or earbuds can all lead to NIHL. Prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing loss.
2. Ear Infections
Ear infections can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, especially if left untreated. In some cases, the infection damages the eardrum or the tiny bones in the middle ear, resulting in hearing loss.
3. Ototoxic Medications
Certain medications, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and high doses of aspirin, can be harmful to the ears and lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
4. Trauma or Injury
Head injuries, such as concussions or fractures of the skull, can cause hearing loss if the inner ear structures are damaged. Similarly, exposure to sudden, loud noises like explosions can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss.
Finally, some young adults may inherit genes from their parents, predisposing them to hearing loss. Genetic hearing loss can be present at birth or develop later in life.
While there are many causes of hearing loss among young adults, there are also a couple of ways to prevent this issue from happening or worsening:
1. Limit Exposure to Loud Noise
Young adults must be aware of their surrounding noise levels and limit their exposure to loud environments. If possible, choose quieter recreational settings or take regular breaks when attending concerts or nightclubs.
2. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Invest in good quality noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds to reduce the need for high volume levels when listening to music. These devices can also be useful in blocking out background noise, allowing you to listen at a safer volume.
3. Follow the 60/60 Rule
A practical guideline to prevent hearing loss is the 60/60 rule. This means listening to music or other audio at no more than 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes per day. Taking regular breaks and listening at a lower volume can significantly reduce the risk of hearing loss.
4. Protect Your Ears
Use earplugs or earmuffs when exposed to loud noises, such as concerts, sporting events, or noisy work environments. Custom-made earplugs can provide better protection and a more comfortable fit. Just keep in mind that these options may be a little pricier than their non-custom counterparts.
5. Seek Medical Attention for Ear Infections
If you suspect an ear infection, seek medical attention promptly. Early treatment can prevent complications, including hearing loss.
6. Be Aware of Ototoxic Medications
If you are prescribed a medication known to be ototoxic, discuss the potential risks with your healthcare provider. In some cases, alternative medications or lower doses might be available to minimise the risk of hearing damage.
7. Regular Hearing Check-Ups
Just like regular dental or vision check-ups, it is essential to have your hearing assessed periodically. Early detection with hearing tests like the one we provide can prevent further damage and help you take appropriate actions to preserve your hearing.
Hearing loss in young adults is a growing concern, but fortunately, knowledge can prepare one well for the potential issue. By understanding the causes and following the prevention tips mentioned above, young adults can take charge of their hearing health and reduce the risk of hearing loss. Remember, prevention is better than cure, and safeguarding your hearing now will have lifelong benefits!
Country Hearing Care provides a variety of hearing services and products to help patients overcome their hearing issues and enjoy better hearing. If you are looking for Australian hearing services to overcome your hearing loss, talk to us today.