When you picture someone with hearing loss, you may imagine someone older. However, hearing loss can affect people of any age. Of course, you know people can be born with hearing loss, but you don’t have to ready to retire to lose your hearing.
While any number of factors—disease, medication, etc.—can cause hearing loss, the most common cause of hearing loss is young people is what we call noise-induced hearing loss. The World Health Organization even estimates that over a BILLION people could lose their hearing like this. Luckily, this is a preventable form of hearing loss.
The first and only step is, protect your hearing. Don’t listen to music on personal devices at loud volumes. Take breaks from the device. If you go out to clubs or concerts, always pack earplugs. If you don’t have your earplugs, limit your exposure to the noise. According to WHO, some clubs play music so loudly that your ears should hear only about 15 minutes of it. You may not want to leave, but you can be the cool kid raging in the club all night, or you can still be able to hear the next day.
Noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t happen only when we’re having fun, of course. It can also affect you in other situations. For example, another common place we may encounter loud noises is in the workplace. Whether you work on a factory floor or in another environment, it can be painful to your ears.
Luckily, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration–OSHA–governs issues of workplace safety in the United States. Other countries have similar organizations. Most reputable workplaces will work hard to make sure that they comply with OSHA, so you will be given guidelines for how to protect yourself.
As with all noise-induced hearing loss, these guidelines are aimed toward prevention. Your workplace may have you wear protective earmuffs, for example, and/or limit your exposure in loud environments. You should follow these guidelines in the workplace and follow them outside of it. Your hearing could depend on it.