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Are teens going deaf?

(KSL-TV)



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SALT LAKE CITY — If your teenager can't hear you as well as you once heard your parents, there is a reason for that. Teenagers usually have their headphones on a lot these days, and it’s doing significant damage.

“I love listening to music all the time and kind of loud sometimes to drown everything,” Chad Hurst, a teenager, said.

It's a way of life for the average teen.

“Almost every day for a few hours like when I go to the gym,” Jade Porter, a frequent headphone user said.

Doctors with the National Institute of Health say hearing loss among today's teens is 30 percent greater than it was in the ’80s and ’90s.

“I believe it because I feel like my hearing isn't as good,” Porter said.

Hearing loss occurs because the inner ear repeatedly gets pounded with sounds over 85 decibels.

“You'd be surprised at how soft 85 decibels is,” Michael Page, an audiologist at Primary Children's Hospital, said.


If you were to go to most rock concerts these days and measure the decibel level that's present, they're pushing easily over 100 decibels, and sometimes even up to 120 decibels.

–Dr. Michael Page


When you're at the doctor’s office and getting your hearing tested, 85 decibels is going to sound differently in the office than on your iPhone.

“If you were to go to most rock concerts these days and measure the decibel level that's present, they're pushing easily over 100 decibels, and sometimes even up to 120 decibels,” Page said.

But it's the daily pounding of sound for prolonged periods of time that Page said has a profound impact on the nerves in the ears.

“And how they respond to sound is based on the amount of sound, the loudness of that sound,” Page said.

Which is why he recommends using this acronym: LTD, which Page explains about below.

“If we can decrease the time we're exposed to that sound, and if we can increase that distance, we actually increase the likelihood that we'll protect our hearing,” Page said.

As for Hurst, he's going to start protecting his ears a little more.

“Maybe turn it down a little less,” Hurst commented.

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