It might be imagined that hearing aid tests are overwhelmingly procedures undertaken by those in later life, but increasingly young people across the developed world are wearing hearing aids – and for more than one reason.
This has been noticed in the US, with the issue being highlighted in an article in the New York Times. Following up on this, ABC News highlighted significant figures showing the extent to which young people in the US are at risk of hearing damage, mainly due to playing music too loud, especially while wearing headphones.
It quoted figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stating that a fifth of Americans aged 30 or under have suffered some hearing damage due to this cause.
However, the report added, need alone is not the only factor in more youngsters wearing hearing aids, as they have advanced markedly from the clunky, visually intrusive versions that existed a few years ago. Now they can resemble ear pods, making it less obvious the wearer is using a hearing aid and thus reducing the social stigma involved.
While the ABC article may focus on the US, the same problem is a threat across developed nations where there is easy access to headphones and online music sources, including the UK.
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) offers information on how loud music can damage hearing by over-stimulating sound-sensitive hair follicles in the era, which then stop functioning, with the result being that hearing is impaired.
According to the RNID, this damage is usually temporary, but repeated incidents can cause more lasting hearing loss and other conditions such as tinnitus. It advises people to take steps such as taking a five-minute break from using earphones every hour and not going over safe volume limits.
For some young people, such advice may have come too late. So if you are 30 or younger and have a hearing issue, don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out. If you have damage that requires a hearing aid, you will be in good company.