Device usage prompts hearing concerns in Malaysia

Photo credit: Thilipen Rave Kumar

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Sun, sharing news out of Malaysia, reports that children and young adults’ increased use of personal listening devices is raising concerns about the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physician Priatharisiny Velayutham correctly notes that in the past, noise-induced hearing loss was primarily associated with workplace noise exposure, but it has now become increasingly common among children and young adults. The statement adds to similar anecdotal reports in the American media.

But at this point, published studies in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals have not yet reported this finding. The World Health Organization states that 1.1 billion young people are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. The American Academy of Pediatrics released its first policy statement on noise and children last year. 

Velayutham adds that noise-induced hearing loss is permanent. Hearing loss in children affects their success in school, and later, at work. The only current treatment for hearing loss is amplification, like hearing aids, with cochlear implants reserved for the profoundly hearing impaired. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noise-induced hearing loss is the only type of hearing loss that is 100% preventable. 

As we like to say, if it sounds loud, it’s too loud and your auditory health is at risk. Avoid loud noise exposure, turn down the volume, leave the noisy environment and your ears should last you an entire lifetime. Children and teens won’t understand this, so it’s up to parents and grandparents to protect their little darlings’ hearing.

If guardians are looking for safe personal listening devices, headphones or earbuds, they won’t find them. That search will be as successful as finding a safe cigarette. It’s best not to use personal listening devices, even if it’s near impossible these days. But listening time can be limited, at least for younger children, and they can be taught about the dangers of noise for their hearing.

Share this article:

Article Categories

Search Articles