STUDY: Attachment to smartphones and earbuds may lead to hearing loss

Smartphones and earbuds

During the days of the Walkman, many used to wonder what those little things that are plugged into the ears of the youth. Even during the early days of the iPod, many were fascinated by the white earphones with which they come.

But once the 2010s rolled in, we no longer bat an eyelash when we see someone playing loud music on their smartphones. It's become the norm.

That's only part and parcel of technological advancement, but it doesn’t come without a price.

This habit of constantly using earbuds is compromising many teenagers’ health—particularly their hearing.

And according to new studies, children’s attachment to their smartphones and earbuds is to blame.

Conducted by the researchers from the McMaster University and published in the Scientific Reports, the study revealed that more and more teens are slowly developing tinnitus, a condition characterized by a ringing or a buzzing sound in the inner ear.
The condition could grow worse through the years, and may even lead to hearing loss.

Looking into the activities of kids aged 11 to 17, the researchers highlighted their affinity for loud music and listening to music on their gadgets.

In fact, 30 percent of their respondents already have symptoms of tinnitus—a scary thing considering these usually manifest at around 50-years-old.

“Additional tests revealed that while the teens can still hear fine, those who have the symptoms of tinnitus were more adverse to hearing loud noises,” said a Parent Herald report. “This suggested that they could have already triggered nerve damage due to their listening habits.”

In a Today report, hearing specialist Dr. Sreekant echoes the studies' findings, attributing this health risk to technological advancement, which teens find too enticing.

“Nowadays we have smartphones that are extremely complex computers with high-level fidelity,” the doctor said.

The head of the aforementioned study, Larry Robers, has one simple way to combat this phenomenon, and it’s called the 60/60 rule: 60 percent volume and only for 60 minutes a day, and he encourages parents to enforce this rule strictly.

“The message is,” he said. “Protect your ears."
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