In recent years, there’s been a rise in the number of children who are suffering from hearing loss.

Understanding the Alarming Rise in Hearing Loss in Children

by | Feb 20, 2024 | Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is an unfortunate part of the aging process for many people. A staggering 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 suffers from an age-related hearing loss. But it’s not only older adults who are struggling with hearing problems. In recent years, there’s been a rise in the number of children who are suffering from a hearing loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  1 in 3 children aged 6 to 19 has hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noises. The World Health Organization predicts that this number will continue to rise, with the amount of global hearing loss cases doubling by the year 2050. So, what is the reason behind this increase in hearing loss in children? Well, we have modern society to thank. 

What Is Causing the Hearing Loss Epidemic in Children? 

Our modern world is much louder than it used to be. We are constantly inundated with loud noises, especially in urban areas. And yes, headphones are a part of the problem, too. Many people wear headphones or earbuds for hours on end, including teens and children. It’s common for children to spend a lot of time on tablets while wearing headphones. Often, children wear headphones in noisy environments—like restaurants or in the car—and the volume is turned up too loud. 

When we think of noise-induced hearing loss, we often assume it’s caused by a sudden, loud sound. However, in most cases, noise-induced hearing loss is caused by continued exposure to loud noises over time. Duration and volume are the culprits. While Apple Airpods Max have become wildly popular, they should be worn with caution. They can produce a volume of around 100 dB. At this level, only 20 minutes of listening is enough to harm your ears. And many individuals don’t notice they’re experiencing a hearing loss until the symptoms become significant.  

How Noise Exposure Affects Children’s Hearing 

Children suffering from a noise-induced hearing loss often have slight cases or are only impacted in one ear. It’s important to take precautions to prevent further damage. Remember – once hearing is gone, it doesn’t come back. 

So, how exactly does noise damage our ears? Our inner ears are lined with tiny hairs. When our ears are exposed to noise, those tiny hairs work to trigger the nerve cells to fire, producing a waste product. If the noise is long enough and loud enough, this waste product can kill the cells. This is why it’s so important to limit the duration that your child’s ears are exposed to loud noises. 

Preventing Hearing Loss in Children 

The best way to keep your child’s hearing in good health is to follow these tips for preventing hearing damage: 

  • Keep your child away from loud noises as much as possible. In situations where you can’t avoid loud noises, make sure they are wearing hearing protection. 
  • Keep the volume of TVs, toys, and electronic devices at safe levels. 
  • Never delay treating ear infections. Ear infections can cause lasting damage when left untreated. 
  • Get their hearing checked regularly.  
  • Set a good example by keeping the volume turned down on your own devices and taking breaks from using headphones.  

Depending on the severity, hearing loss in children is often treated with hearing aids and cochlear implants. The right treatment will depend on your child’s individual degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and age. Your audiologist will work with you to determine the best path forward.  

Jacobs Audiology Is Here for Your Family 

There’s nothing scarier than when your child has a problem with their health. If you’re concerned about your child’s hearing, it’s important to seek the help of your audiologist right away. More than 100,000 patients throughout the years have trusted our team at Jacobs Audiology with their hearing healthcare.

We work hard to find the best treatment and hearing technology for each patient’s unique circumstances.

If a member of your family is suffering from a hearing loss, don’t delay seeking treatment. To schedule an appointment with our team, you can reach us at our:

Or, request a callback and a member of our friendly team will be in touch with you soon.  

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Marcie Jacobs, M.A., F-AAA

Marcie Jacobs has extensive experience in the field of Audiology. She became an audiologist over 25 years ago and has practiced in Southern Maryland and Prince Georges County. Jacobs Audiology was founded in 2011 with the philosophy of providing superior hearing health care for their patients. Her unique combination of empathy and energy result in excellent patient care. Marcie Jacobs obtained her Master of Science degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland in 1991.

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