Hearing Loss Among Teens & Young Adults

We all know that hearing loss doesn't discriminate based on age. Hearing loss due to illnesses, genetics, medications or injury crosses generational lines and can affect everyone from the very young to the very old. But when it comes to hearing loss, children and teenagers face particular challenges that are unique to them.

Hearing loss has a tendency to paint life with a broad brush, no matter what age you are. But for young people, and teenagers in particular, hearing loss affects everything from education to social life to confidence level and vocational choices.

Hearing loss and youth

Lifestyle is certainly a factor in the increasing rates of hearing loss among young people. A daily barrage of loud video games, mp3 players cranked to full volume, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters and surround-sound entertainment systems delivers an unprecedented assault on the hearing of our children and teens, the likes of which has not been previously seen.

With increasing rates of hearing loss comes academic challenges, a growing problem for young people. Kids and teens with hearing loss are at risk academically if their hearing loss is left untreated. Even those kids who have congenital hearing loss and have received treatment for their hearing loss in the form of hearing aids or cochlear implants can find themselves having difficulty in school; they have to adjust to new teachers every year who may or may not have experience working with students who are hearing impaired or have hearing loss, or might miss hearing important information about assignments that can adversely affect their grades.

For older teens, job and career choices can be heavily influenced by hearing loss. Studies have shown young people with hearing loss are often more limited in their vocational choices due to perceived barriers. Whether those barriers actually exist or not, they can influence young people with hearing loss to become anxious and lose confidence, and thus compromise their career goals.

Often, kids and teenagers who are hearing impaired or have hearing loss have to work harder at everyday things that kids with typical hearing take for granted. In sports, for example, they may experience more stress and frustration due to not being able to hear coaches' instructions. Interactions with peers might be more difficult due to missed jokes or only hearing part of a conversation. Overall, they may find themselves feeling left out and awkward, wondering where they fit in. It is a difficult position for anyone to be in, especially a young person.

What causes hearing loss in teens?

Across age groups, hearing loss can result from a variety of causes. Though illnesses, genetics, injuries to the head or ear, birth complications or exposure to certain medications can all be factors, among older people hearing loss is most often attributed to a natural aging of the auditory nerve, also known as age-related hearing loss. In teens, however  the most common cause of hearing loss is excessive noise exposure, which is completely preventable.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 12.5 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes. One reason hearing loss among young people is on the rise is that the new technology allows for thousands of songs to be stored, as opposed to the old technology (such as the  Sony Walkman, for example) which only played one cassette or CD at a time. More song storage leads to longer listening times. And unlike the bulky headphones of times past, earbuds deliver sound directly into the ear canal without any sound buffering in between. Adding to this is that most of the earbuds come bundled with iPods and other mp3 players are low to mediocre quality, so they are unable to transit the bass as effectively. As anyone who listens to music knows, if you can't hear the bass, the temptation is to turn the music up.

Fortunately there are ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in tweens and teens. Some of these include:

1. Are you having trouble hearing other people's voices clearly?

2. Do you often have to ask people to repeat themselves?

3. Does your family often have to ask you to turn the volume down on the TV?

4. Do friends and family say that you don't seem to hear very well?

5. Do you often find yourself missing jokes or parts of conversations?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you might want to seek the help of a hearing healthcare professional. A simple hearing test isn't painful and can determine if you have hearing loss, to what degree and whether treatment or intervention is necessary. Remember, protecting your hearing when you are young can reduce the likelihood of hearing loss down the road.

Our Hearing Tests

Hearing test for young adults and teenagers.

Adult hearing

Many adults are unsure if they do actually have a hearing problem. Our free online hearing test for adults takes a few minutes to complete and provides a good indication of any possible hearing problem.
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NHS Youth hearing test centre

Youth Hearing

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Teenagers often do not recognise, or ignore, symptoms indicating the onset of hearing problems. Nearly all youth hearing issues can be addressed and corrected without surgical intervention if timeously detected.
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NHS Child hearing test

Child Hearing

The advantage of our online child hearing test is that the parent can perform our free test on the child multiple times over a course of several days, identify if a pattern exists and take the appropriate action.
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Is the Teen hearing test really free

Yes, the online hearing test for teenagers is completely free of charge. We will not ask you for any form of payment.

What you need to complete the test

You will need a good pair of headphones, or earphones, that connect to your sound enabled computer, laptop or mobile device and internet access.

How You get the test results

The result of your online hearing test for young adults is available as printable report online and via email immediately after you have completed the test. To receive your test result you will need to provide some personal information.

How reliable is the free Teenagers hearing test

Provided that you follow the test instructions, our online hearing test for teenagers results are very reliable.

What Personal Information Must I Provide

To receive your free hearing test results you will need to provide your name, post code, email address and a contact telephone number.

Will Anybody Contact Me

Should your online hearing test indicate you may have a hearing a problem we will pass your test results and contact details to your nearest physical test centre. Depending on their expert assessment they may invite you for further testing.

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Phone: +44 (0)208 1230993

Email: help@hearingtest.co.uk

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