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Hearing Loss and Millennials

Hearing Loss and Millennials

When we talk about hearing loss, many times presbycusis – the medical term for age-related hearing loss- takes center stage, but hearing loss in the aging population doesn’t represent a complete picture of hearing issues today. More and more, hearing loss is skewing younger, as millenials are refocusing the conversation about hearing loss.


Growing Up in a Noisy World

Even among younger demographics, hearing loss is heavily driven by noise exposure. Current research suggests that around one in ten Americans are exposed to noise pollution at volumes with the potential to damage hearing. At the same time the World Health Organization estimates that the hearing risks for teenagers are significantly increasing as countries develop and urbanize.

Not only are teens and young adults surrounded by increasing levels of noise pollution, they are also the first generation to grow up with the widespread prevalence of earbuds and personal music devices. While teenagers of the past have been playing their music too loud, the current generation had easy access to having dangerously loud music delivered directly to their ear canal. Personal music devices can do considerable permanent harm to a person’s hearing while the damaging volume is undetectable to the outside observer.

Exposing kids to hazardous noise levels can do a lot of damage quickly and set the ball rolling towards significant noise-related hearing loss. As the issue becomes more prominent earlier in life, education and treatment are necessary.


Confronting the Issue

Millennials who experience hearing issues are waiting longer than average to have their hearing checked. That’s not encouraging, because the average is already a wait of 7 years from the time a hearing issue is first noticed until when a hearing exam is performed. Part of the problem is that many people don’t think that hearing loss happens to younger people. Changing the perception of who hearing loss affects is as important as taking into consideration what younger populations with hearing loss will face.

As the demographics of hearing loss shift it is important to adjust our approaches to education and treatment. Millennials facing hearing loss will have to contend with how their hearing challenges impact them at school and on the job. Untreated hearing loss can limit a student’s classroom engagement and keep them from attaining their academic potential. In the work force, untreated hearing loss can curtail a worker’s earning power and even put them in greater danger for accidental injuries.

With a rising rate of hearing loss in young people, increasing hearing exams conducted in schools to screen for hearing loss may help catch hearing issues early and raise awareness about healthy listening habits. While annual hearing exams become recommended as we age, it may be time to make them a lifelong habit, in the interest of treating hearing loss early, when hearing aids can be most effective.


Substance and Style

As with so many things Millennials are changing the conversation around hearing loss. When education and treatment are available, many young people with hearing loss are embracing the assistance hearing aids can offer, and fluidly adapting to the cutting edge of hearing technology.

This is a great indicator, because treating hearing loss can’t wait. As hearing loss develops, it worsens and warps the methods our brain uses to process sound further and further away from our “natural” process of hearing. This means that the later hearing aids are introduced, the less our hearing resembles its original state and the harder it is to adjust to using a hearing device.

While older adults with hearing loss often pursue the most discreet hearing aid designs, opting for flesh-tone colors and small device profiles, younger generations are treating hearing aids as part fashion statement. Rather than rejecting hearing aids as a sign of age or limitation, Millennials with hearing aids wear their devices in bright colors, with shimmering decals and dangling accessories.


Hearing Your Best

Hearing loss can happen to anyone, but when hearing issues arise, Hearing Centers of Arizona can help. Our staff of hearing experts provides a personal approach to hearing care to everyone who walks through our doors. We tailor your hearing health journey to your lifestyle needs with comprehensive testing, individual-based analysis and offering you the top brands in hearing solutions. When you experience hearing issues, don’t wait a day longer – set up your appointment with us today!

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