BALTIMORE — Earbuds are more popular than ever. Many people wear them all day, the tiny but powerful listening devices have taken the headphone community by storm.
Doctor of Audiology Melissa Segev with Audiologists Associates says problems arise when people underestimate how loud they set the volume on their personal audio devices.
“We’re seeing patients who are wearing earbuds all the time, and we’re actually seeing evidence of hearing loss at younger ages,” Dr. Segev said.
Exposure to sound playing directly into your ears can cause irreversible hearing damage. While the use of the tiny but powerful earbuds increases, so does the number of people coming into Segev’s office.
“We’re starting to see children at 9, 10, 11 coming in with evidence of noise exposure, we can actually see what that looks like based on noise configuration of the hearing test we perform,” Segev said.
She said it may be difficult to quit using earphones altogether, but you can limit frequency. Dr. Segev urges people to take a step back, and consider the potential consequences on your health.
“On more than 1 occasion I will find the tip of some listening device in their ear shoved all the way down to their ear canal because they have shoved another earbud in their ear because the domes can come off, so we are fishing them out of people’s ears too,” Dr. Segev said.
The World Health Organization issued a warning:
“Millions of teenagers and young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices and exposure to damaging sound levels at venues such as nightclubs, bars, concerts and sporting events,” said Dr Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for the Department for Noncommunicable Diseases.
Meanwhile, there are some earbuds that offer technology for people suffering with mild to moderate hearing loss. The feature is typically available with smartphones and tablets by simply pairing earbuds to the device to activate. It allows you to cancel out noise and amplify sound. However, be sure to check with your audiologist to see if it’s an option that works for you.
While headphone culture is at its highest, the audiology community hopes awareness of noise goes up and the volume on audio devices goes down.
Video Link: Can using earbuds lead to hearing loss? | CBS
By Nicky Zizaza