It’s official – Ireland’s young people are risking their hearing by turning up the volume of iPods or personal radios, especially on public transport. The 82 per cent of 15 to 24 year-olds in Ireland who wear earphones regularly, have been warned that they may suffer premature hearing loss.
The inconvenience of noise-induced hearing loss can hit early on. Hearing-aid suppliers Hidden Hearing recently met a 25-year-old girl who had the hearing of an 85-year-old as a result of loud music. Increasingly, I meet people my own age who’ve damaged their hearing the same way.
Regular wearers of earphones can take positive action by ensuring they can hear external sounds when listening to music. Noise-related hearing loss develops over time, and anyone noticing a change in their hearing is advised to take a hearing test to safeguard what’s left before it’s too late.
Earphones – especially those for joggers – and Bluetooth headsets – have stolen many design features from hearing-aids, but the similarity ends there. Hearing-aids are getting smaller, with bright colours and practical accessories, but who really wants to switch an iPod for a hearing-aid?