Addicted to your iPod? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your personal music player is a huge reason why today's teens are expected to have worse hearing as adults than any other generation.
Teens have been blasting music since the beginning of time, so why's this generation so at risk? Thank technology. You can now play your music louder and longer than ever.
Dr. Katrina Stidham, Chief of Neurotology at Westchester Medical Center, warns, "Noise induced hearing loss is permanent and once the insult to the ear has happened, there is nothing that can be done to reverse it."
That means you can't ever fix the damage your iPod is causing now. In fact, a study by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association found that that 51% of high school students reported at least one symptom of hearing loss compared to 37% of adults, who've had years more exposure to loud sounds.
Don't want to add hearing loss to your list of things to stress about? Here are the signs to look out for and some helpful ways to still enjoy your iPod safely.
"One of the first signs of noise induced hearing problems is tinnitus, experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear," Dr. Stidham explains. Other signs of early hearing loss include not being able to clearly hear your teachers, often asking for things to be repeated, and needing to turn the TV up louder than the volume your friends can comfortably hear it at.
"A healthy and safe volume to listen to your personal music player is at 60% or less of the maximal volume," Dr. Stidham continues. A rule of thumb is that other people shouldn't be able to hear what song you're listening to. If they can, you're playing it too loudly. And don't crank up the volume on your personal music player just to drown out noise on the bus, in the cafeteria, at the gym, etc. It's tempting, but harmful!