You can make sure your kids eat healthy, don’t stay out too late and clean their rooms. But how do you control the volume when they’re wearing earbuds? Listening to music, watching videos, playing games or chatting with friends is now something most kids do on their phones with the use of earbuds. But hearing loss is a real threat posed by these listening devices and teens today are facing a much bigger risk since they have basically had unlimited access to dangerous volumes for years.
Today reports about a new study from McMaster University that finds close to 30% of teens today are already suffering from tinnitus (ringing in the ears) due to the growing popularity of smartphones and earbuds over the last decade. The study’s co-author warns, “It's a growing problem and I think it's going to get worse. My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing.”
Some may argue that several generations have been exposed to headphones with little to no ill effect, but researchers believe that the current use of earbuds and volume people are listening to is much more damaging that in the past. An ENT specialist from Indiana, Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, explains how today’s listening devices are much riskier for hearing damage than they ever have been. Dr. Cherukuri says, “You [once] had a Walkman with two AA batteries and headphone thongs that went over your ears. At high volume, the sound was so distorted and the battery life was poor. Nowadays we have smartphones that are extremely complex computers with high-level fidelity.”
Parents who are wondering what can be done about their child’s listening habits are advised to limit time and lower the volume. Researchers from the study say to follow the “60/60” rule, keeping volume below 60 percent when listening to an MP3 player limiting earbud time to 60 minutes a day.
What do you think of the latest study that suggests teens today are damaging their hearing by using earbuds?
Do you try to limit your child’s use of earbuds or tell them to keep the volume down when they listen to music?