According to a study conducted by the Zogby International polling firm and commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association, or ASHA, more than half of high school students surveyed reported at least one symptom of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a condition where the ability to detect frequencies of sound is partially or completely impaired. It is very difficult to reverse and takes away the second most utilized form of sense.
To determine a student’s state of hearing, one could measure their ability to detect frequencies by looking at the three symptoms of hearing loss.
If someone turns up the volume of their iPod significantly in order to hear a song, says the phrases “what” or “huh” numerously in the middle of a conversation, experiences tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, then they may have some problems.
“Many of those [symptoms] sound familiar,” said Teddy Elshof, sophomore. “Playing in the symphonic band is really quite loud. Every now and then I will have a ringing tone stuck in my head from the trombones that I sit next to.”
When encountering two or three of these symptoms, one should see a specialist for a professional opinion. A doctor would be able to specify the type of hearing loss if there is any problem to be identified.
There are three different types of basic hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss. Out of these three, many students who experience a form of listening problem tend to have sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL.
SNHL is the most common type of hearing loss for adolescents. According to ASHA, SNHL occurs when there is damage to the inner ear. Unfortunately, this type of hearing loss almost never can be solved medically or surgically.
Students damage their inner ear by listening to car speakers, televisions, iPods, certain musical instruments or anything else that produces noises above 75 decibels.
Since the effects of SNHL are irreversible, students should take some precautions to prevent it.
It may be inconvenient to resist putting on those ear buds, but there are ways students can reduce the effects of these devices.
For example, students can buy sound-canceling headphones. The excess waves of frequency regular ear buds allow causes a student to increase the volume of their device. The sound-canceling headphones allow a student’s ears to concentrate on their music.
“My dad got me these sick Beats by Dr. Dre and those are noise-canceling,” said Ben Tyner, sophomore. “Even when my iPhone is as low as it goes, I still have no idea what other people are saying around me.”
For students who can’t afford such headphones, the ASHA proposes music enthusiasts listen at sixty percent of maximum volume for one hour per day. This rule is also known as the “60 for 60 rule”.
In most cases, students will lose their ability to hear faint sounds at some point in their life. Students will ultimately choose when they lose their hearing.
“I have already noticed some problems, so I will try to be better about loud music and stuff like that,” said Elshof.