While your team may find the excessive noise normal around their friends, the consequences can be devastating.  

In fact, according to the American Osteopathic Association, hearing loss in teens has risen by 30 percent since the 1990s, and the sudden increase is due primarily to headphones. Unfortunately, hearing loss due to excessive sound exposure is permanent, and there is no cure for it. Therefore, parents must set guidelines to protect teen hearing and educate them on the importance of hearing health.

Signs of Teen Hearing Loss

If you catch hearing loss early, you can make habit adjustments to reduce further damage and reduce the consequences of hearing loss. Most teens with hearing loss also suffer from depression and perform poorly at school due to the impact it has on their social life.

As hearing loss is gradual, those experiencing it often don’t notice the change until it’s too late. Instead, parents should carefully monitor their teen’s behavior.

If you notice your teen listens to the TV or radio at a higher volume or they have difficulty understanding your speech in a crowded or noisy environment, consider getting their hearing tested. High pitched sounds and consonants are most difficult for people with early hearing loss to distinguish.

To reduce the risk of hearing loss, here are some tips to keep your teen safe.

Set Boundaries For Headphone Usage

If your teen uses headphones often to listen to music, it’s essential to establish boundaries to prevent hearing loss. Set rules that your teen can only listen to music at 50 or 60 percent of the volume. Most headphones at 100 percent of the volume can reach 120 decibels, which is the equivalent of a loud rock concert. 

The amount of time you spend listening to music also directly impacts the damage you’ll experience. Therefore, limit your teen’s music exposure to just a few hours per day. 

Dr. Charles Liberman, a professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, says that if your teen experiences any ringing after listening to music, they are experiencing permanent hearing damage and should immediately turn down the noise.

Invest in Quality Ear Protection

While headphones are a prominent cause of hearing damage, they aren’t the only cause. Many recreational activities and yard work are also damaging to teens. For example, one study showed that kids that participate in recreational firearm activities are at a much higher risk of hearing loss than peer groups that listen to music. 

However, recreational hunting isn’t the only activity that endangers teen hearing health. 

Loud concerts, lawn mowing, and other activities are all dangerous to teen hearing. Therefore, invest in quality ear protection. 

Each earplug blocks a certain range of decibels, so be sure to choose an earplug suitable for the specific activity.

Educate Your Teen

Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to protect your teen is to educate them on the risk of hearing damage. Policing these rules can be difficult, so be sure to tell them why it’s important and how hearing loss will impact their social life. 

Show them studies that report how hearing loss will also affect their future relationships and employment opportunities. 

Ultimately, set a good example by playing music at a reasonable volume, taking regular hearing tests, and wearing hearing protection while exposed to loud noise.