Natalie Andrews of Ursuline High School

By NATALIE ANDREWS
URSULINE HIGH SCHOOL,
16, JUNIOR

There are many noises around us. From concerts to football games, and everything in between, teens are damaging their hearing by the blaring noises of everyday activities. One of the major problems that affects teens’ hearing is blasting iPods to the maximum volume. This situation causes long-term damage to the ears. As more and more teens use iPods, for exercise, homework or blocking out other noises, their ability to hear precisely is damaged. There are many risks in raising the volume to the maximum.
Everywhere I look, I see someone listening to their iPod, with their earphones in, and I can hear a distant beat coming from it. Teens need to point out the obvious and realize that they are damaging their hearing.
According to msnbc.com, an idea of “older ears on younger bodies” is becoming evident through a teen’s ability to hear. This means teens are becoming more likely to have hearing impairments at a younger age. Hearing specialists say they’re seeing more people in their 30s and 40s — many of them among the first Walkman users — who suffer from more pronounced tinnitus, an internal ringing or even the sound of whooshing or buzzing in the ears.
If people don’t realize that loud noises will permanently ruin their hearing, they will have to suffer the consequences.
I’ve noticed that after going to concerts or venues with loud music, I recognize that things are definitely harder to hear, and it is difficult to realize that these short-term instances of loud music lead to long-term problems.
With research from Britain’s Royal National Institute for Deaf People, they discovered that people from the ages of 18 to 24 were more likely to exceed the safe listening limits than adults. Msnbc.com states that if you rest your ears, they might recover, at least partially, doctors say. But with repeated exposure comes more damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, which are key to good hearing. Teens need to recognize that there has to be a limit when listening to blaring music.
There are ways to avoid premature hearing loss. The first way is to listen to an iPod with its volume at the midpoint, or somewhere around 60 percent. This is an effective way to prevent hearing loss. Another way is to look for noise-canceling earphones, which prevent people from raising the volume to cancel out sounds around them. Many people turn up the volume to cancel out the noise around them, but the best way is to get earphones that cancel out the sounds while listening at a safe volume. Other advice would be to stay away from loud speakers and use hearing protection when working in loud environments.
Even musicians are participating in organizations that help to prevent hearing loss by passing out earplugs. They hope some people will acknowledge that loud noises are damaging to young ears and promote people to use earplugs to save their hearing. My hope is that teens will fully comprehend that the best way to prevent long-term hearing damage is to keep it at a safe volume.