Discover the alarming rise in hearing loss among children, its modern-day causes and how Hometown Hearing Centre is dedicated to helping ensure your child's auditory health.

The Startling Increase in Hearing Loss among Children: Unraveling the Whys

by | Aug 16, 2023 | Children's Hearing Health, Patient Resources

At Hometown Hearing Centre, we’ve often treated patients of all ages, but a new trend has been emerging in recent years; a startling rise in hearing loss is happening among children, and we need to pay attention.

The belief that hearing loss is primarily an aging concern is outdated. Recent studies indicate that our younger generation, especially children, is facing a significant risk from noise-induced hearing loss.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 12.5% of US children between the ages of 6 to 19 already showed signs of noise-induced hearing loss back in 2001.

Given the technological advancements and lifestyle changes, current figures are expected to be higher. With the World Health Organization estimating a potential doubling of global hearing loss cases by 2050, our children’s hearing health is a crucial concern.

Why Is This Surge Occurring?

When we think of noise-induced hearing loss, we often picture loud explosions causing direct damage. However, the modern-day culprit isn’t necessarily these sudden loud noises but consistent exposure to moderately loud sounds.

Our ears weren’t designed for continuous exposure to loud noises. Historically, the human auditory system evolved to detect subtle sounds for survival – like the rustling of leaves indicating a nearby predator. Prolonged exposure to sounds above 110 dBA was rare.

Today’s society, however, is a cacophony of noises – from traffic sounds to blaring music at concerts, and crucially, through personal headphones.

As Brian Fligor, chair of the World Health Organization’s Make Listening Safe Taskforce explains, hearing damage today can be likened to muscle fatigue. Just as muscles produce lactic acid during strenuous exercise, the inner ear’s cells produce waste when exposed to loud sounds. If these cells can’t eliminate this waste fast enough, they can die, leading to hearing impairment.

If a sound is loud enough and prolonged, even levels just above 85 dB can be harmful.

While we might not see immediate signs, this noise exposure can accumulate and manifest later in life. The CDC has found hearing loss to be a major chronic physical condition, even more prevalent than diabetes or cancer in certain age groups.

Technology and Our Children’s Hearing Health

Modern technology is amplifying this problem. With children spending more hours on tablets, smartphones and using earphones, they are inadvertently at risk. Popular devices, like Apple AirPods Max, can produce volumes around 100 dB, and a mere 20 minutes at this volume can be harmful.

The need of the hour is education. Limiting volume on devices, raising awareness among the youth and consistently monitoring our children’s hearing health are essential.

Concerns about Your Child’s Hearing?

Being a parent means constant concern for your child’s well-being. If you’re anxious about your child’s hearing, it’s essential not to jump to conclusions. Several reasons might cause your child to be less responsive, and not all of them are linked to hearing loss.

However, if you are concerned, the best step is to seek professional advice. At Hometown Hearing Centre, we offer a child-friendly environment with non-invasive testing methods. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, we customize our approach to ensure comfort and accuracy.

To discuss further or schedule an appointment, reach out to us today. At Hometown Hearing Centre, we’re always here to help.

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Your Team at Hometown Hearing Centre

At Hometown Hearing Centre, we are committed to providing the highest levels of hearing care to our patients across Ontario. Since opening our doors in 2015, we have become the first choice hearing care provider for over 25,000 people. Our team of over 40 local hearing professionals includes hearing instrument specialists, a former ENT practitioner, and patient care coordinators who are dedicated to delivering personalized care tailored to each patient's unique needs and circumstances. Our team of experts regularly writes informative blogs to keep our patients informed about the latest news, tips, and tricks in hearing care. With our extensive experience and dedication to patient care, you can trust the team at Hometown Hearing Centre to be your hearing health partners for life.