It isn’t news knowing that teenagers are increasingly becoming hearing-impaired. Now, there are studies to back it up and something needs to be done to turn things around.

What the studies say

A research study, conducted in Brazil, asked 170 students aged between 11 to 17 years were given questionnaires to fill out. The questionnaire posed questions about the teenagers experiencing Tinnitus, a hearing loss symptom. Half of the students reported experiencing it within the past year.

The teenagers who admitted having suffered from Tinnitus underwent psychoacoustic exams to examine their hearing function. The results showed that 49 out of the 170 students exhibited chronic Tinnitus, which is often seen in adults. Tinnitus has always been attributed to older people, but the research showed that younger people are increasingly suffering from it as well.

Moreover, the research also found that teenagers know they suffer from tinnitus, but most simply do not consider it something to worry about like adults do. What this means is that most will not go to be seen by a doctor until the problem becomes chronic.

The impact of hearing loss on teens

Teenagers enjoy listening to music and this means they spend several hours daily with ear buds on, frequenting noisy places.  Concerts, loud clubs, and bars are popular hangout spots for most teens. Those who suffer from tinnitus have described hearing an unexplainable ringing, hissing or whistling sound.

Shockingly, 51 of the students who were part of the research study said that they had noticed signs of tinnitus after they listened to loud music. With tinnitus as an onset symptom of hearing loss, scientists estimate that most teenagers who suffer from it will suffer from hearing loss in their thirties or fourties.

Tinnitus and teenagers

When the Cochlear hair cells, found in the cochlea (inner ear), are damaged, tinnitus occurs. The Cochlear hair cells naturally contract and stretch out in response to vibrations caused by sound. They can become overloaded when exposed to extremely loud noises such as fireworks, loud live music and explosions.

The result in the long run is temporary or permanent damage caused to the cochlear hair cells. This means that other internal parts of the ear have to work harder to make up for the loss of the Cochlear hair cells function. The result is tinnitus.

Preventing teenage hearing loss

One of the possible ways to help turn things around is to encourage teenagers to control the volume of earphones when listening to music. Teenagers should also be encouraged to limit their visits to loud environments such as concerts and clubs. The most important step would be to have teenagers go for regular hearing checkups. This will help identify the problem early enough so that the individuals can work towards turning things around.

Last but not least, teenagers should be encouraged to talk about hearing loss. There are several online support forums where teenagers suffering from Tinnitus share knowledge and their struggles with Tinnitus. Treating hearing loss is a lot easier when discussed with people, especially those who suffer from it.