Have you ever heard a high pitched buzzing or ringing that only you could hear? I've had it happen on occasion, but some people experience it frequently. It's a condition called tinnitus, which peaks between ages 60 and 69 but can happen at any age.
In a recent study of 170 students, ages 11-17, over half reported experiencing tinnitus. That's an astoundingly high number and these students are at risk for developing hearing loss as young adults.
The adolescents in the study had their hearing tested using psychoacoustic examination. It measured their sensitivity to sound, loudness discomfort, and the intensity of their tinnitus. Nearly 30% experienced tinnitus during the test, heard it in both ears, and were more sensitive to loud sounds.
Among the 55% who self-reported tinnitus in the previous year, half experienced it after listening to loud music, 20% heard it at bedtime, and 22% sometimes heard it in silence. The tinnitus often affected their concentration and sleep.
Everyone in the study reported high-risk habits for hearing loss. They listened to music with headphones, and attended parties, clubs, and shows with loud music.
Surprisingly, the teens with tinnitus were less tolerant of loud music and attended fewer events with loud sounds, implying they’re more vulnerable to sounds. It’s possible there was already damage to auditory pathways that process sounds.
Tinnitus is when there’s damage to hair cells in the inner ear that respond to vibrations caused by sound. Very loud noises can overload these cells causing temporary or permanent damage. If teenagers don’t protect their ears, they could face a silent future.
For more information…
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