Doctors see increase in millennials with hearing loss

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Many parents may have warned their teenagers about listening to loud music, but now there is more support that teens and young adults are paying the price.

Doctors say they are seeing an increase in the number of millennials who are dealing with hearing loss.

A contributing factor is not just the volume in which they are listening to music, but listening to loud music using earbuds.

“The earbuds are potentially more dangerous because the speaker is actually closer to your eardrum,” Dr. Sloan Manning, medical director of Novant Health urgent care and occupational medicine for the greater Winston-Salem area, said.

However, millennials FOX8 spoke with say it’s a hard adjustment to make because louder music can sometimes provide a better listening experience.

“The beats and then the music have to be loud in order for you to feel it,” college student Derrick Casinillo said.

A 2015 World Health Organization report shows that 50 percent of teens and young adults ages 12-35 are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal music devices.

“The damage is permanent, unfortunately,” Manning said.

People can still be proactive by knowing if any damage has been done by taking a hearing test also called an audiogram.

The test typically involves playing a series of beeps at different sound levels in both ears.

The participant is then to press a button each time a beep is heard.

This process can indicate if there is any hearing loss.

The 60/60 rule is a general guideline that can help prevent hearing loss.

“You never want the volume on your smartphone over 60 percent of max and you never want to listen more than about 60 minutes a day,” Manning said.