A recent study by the Better Hearing Institute shows that hearing loss is an issue finding its way into younger portions of the population. It is not just an issue for the old folks anymore.

The findings include that — in the age group from 18 to 44 — 25 percent of those surveyed have some hearing loss issues. The report also shows that 65 percent of people with hearing issues were under the age of 65.

Factors that are driving the decline in hearing health include:

  • The rise in personal listening devices — smartphones, laptops, portable music players — that are usually used with headphones and earbuds. Oftentimes younger people are not careful about the volume levels they are choosing for themselves and also listen for long periods of time. Long-term exposure to high decibels can damage ears.
  • Also at play is the general loudness of many public places. Restaurants with multiple big-screen TVs, large sound systems that swathe malls and shopping districts with music, high-decibel movie theater sound systems, and other forms of public noise seem to have intensified in recent years.
  • The loudness of so many public places makes it harder and harder to find quiet spots. And letting one’s ears rest for a length of time is actually important to preventing hearing damage.

The problem is probably worse than the Better Hearing Institute study reports since many younger people develop hearing issues without really realizing it. Hearing loss tends to begin in the higher frequencies. It’s not too hard to adapt to that kind of hearing loss subconsciously.

But it’s only the beginning and the damage will continue to manifest itself into lower and lower frequencies. That’s why it’s important for younger people to get their hearing tested.