Teens going deaf because of endless use of headphones

  • Breaking
  • 18/09/2009

Next week is deafness awareness week, and the focus is on young people and their music listening habits.

Audiologists are concerned that children and teenagers are listening to loud music with gadgets like iPods and earbuds, and don't realise the irreversible damage they may be causing.

3 News caught up with one teenager who wishes he knew better.

Sebastian Hunt, 16, used to listen to his iPod for up to five hours a day.

"I just haven't really thought about it till now, and coming in and having tests about it saying that my hearing is getting worse because of the iPod."

As a result, Mr Hunt's hearing has been irreversibly damaged - a problem his audiologist says is common.

"These days we are seeing a type of hearing loss that is typically found in older adults, and it is becoming a serious issue," says Sargunam Sivaraj.

"It's the regular and prolonged use of gadgets like iPods that's of concern, particularly when they're paired with earbuds, which deliver the sound directly into the ear canal."

"There's nothing that can be done to reverse that damage," says Stephanie Mears, senior director of Bay Audiology.

"The only options are things like hearing aids and devices to amplify sound again because that hearings gone for good."

But we know smoking can kill, and many still do it - so how do we change young people's listening habits?

It's simple really - by changing how they listen.

Concerned parents now have the option of sound-limiting earbuds, which reduce the decibel level by at least 30 percent.

There are no statistics available yet. Rather, the scale of the problem will gradually become known as the younger generation ages.

"I didn't think about it at all," says Mr Hunt.

Specialists just hope they do think about it, before the damage is done.


source: newshub archive