Hearing loss from headphone use becoming more and more common


March 28, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – You may associate hearing loss with old age, and you’d be probably right—until now.

It’s becoming more common at a rapid rate, and an entire generation could be affected.

It’s one of those things parents learn from experience, things they don’t want their children to learn the hard way.

“This is not the type of thing that’s reversible,” said Ron Eavey M.D. He is the Department of Otolaryngology Director at Vanderbilt University and studies ear and throat diseases.

(Photo: WKRN)

The best headphones out there can cost hundreds of dollars, but the price paid should not be your hearing.

“If I can it when I walk in the room with you, it’s too loud,” said ear doctor Kimberly Elliott.

That’s what happening, though, and experts are lining up tell people.

“About 1 in 20 adolescents in the US has hearing loss,” Dr. Eavy told News 2.

Often times, young people have no idea the damage they’re doing.

Eavey says 20 percent of high school students have permanent ringing their ears.

“That’s up a lot over the past 15 years. It’s up about one-third over 15 years,” he explained.

It’s a common misconception certain headphones are more or less damaging.

Even though earbuds can drive loud volumes in deeper, they’re not better or worse than the other types.

The hearing loss is caused by high volume over extended periods. It’s described like waves of noise hitting a shore, beating over time, crushing the hair fibers inside the ear.

On top of that, the risk is higher the younger the child gets.

“In small children, the rule is the smaller the ear, the louder sound grows in the ear, and the more dangerous it could be,” said audiologist Jennifer Taylor.

It also happens gradually, so a young person may complain of ear ringing, and by middle age, hearing loss sets in.

“If you can hear it, hear what the child is listening to, it’s generally too loud,” Taylor explained.

Keeping the volume at or near 50 percent is the best way to listen.

And hearing loss isn’t just limited to loud music in headphones. Listening to radios, TVs, or anything like those, for extended amounts of time is risky.