MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One way to make a teenager happy this holiday season? Buy them something to turn up the music and tune out the world.
MP3 players, iPods and high-quality headphones are on the wish lists of many teens again this season.
But the price may go well beyond what’s on the sales receipt.
Hearing specialists blame the devices for an increase in hearing loss among teenagers.
Christopher Brown of Minneapolis has several options.
“This is LG,” he said, pointing to one set of headphones, “but I have Beats, Street. Tere’s a lot of brands out there so you’ve got to pick the best one.”
On the U of M campus, many students say their ear buds and headphones are on several hours a day.
“It just kind of keeps the outside noise out of my head,” said Cole Rokke, 19, “and allows me to like focus more on what I’m looking at.”
But that prolonged exposure — especially at higher volumes — is one reason hearing loss is no longer considered just an old person’s issue.
Recent studies indicate one in five teenagers is now dealing with some form of hearing loss.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation has a campaign underway to raise awareness among teens.
“This is largely due to preventable causes and it’s irreversible,” said Starkey Vice President Dave Fabry, Ph.D. “A child can be listening at an elevated level that’s likely to cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss, and you may not even be aware of it when you’re standing around them because the sound is so well isolated to their ears and their ears alone.”
Parents can check their kids’ devices. Many of them have “limiters” that don’t let the volume go beyond a certain level.
See how to limit the volume on Apple devices here.
Dr. Fabry says if you listen to your child’s music on headphones and it’s uncomfortable to you, it’s also going to be uncomfortable to them.