Nearly Half of Teens Showing Potential Signs of Hearing Loss

One in six teens showing symptoms often or all of the time.
Nearly nine in ten engage in activities that may damage hearing.

Teen hearing loss may be on the rise, according to a new study commissioned by Siemens Hearing Instruments. In a recent U.S. survey of 500 teenagers ages 13–19, 46 percent of teens reported experiencing ringing, roaring, buzzing or pain in their ears after engaging in risky hearing practices, including listening to excessively loud music and using lawn and power tools with no hearing protection. One in six teens admitted having these symptoms often or all the time. The nationwide survey was conducted by ReRez Research of Dallas, Texas to learn more about teens and their listening habits.

The findings also revealed that teens are aware of the risks, yet still choose not to protect their hearing. Nearly nine in ten (88 percent) of teens admit participating in activities they know may damage their hearing, with listening to loud music being the most popular. When asked what their parents or teachers would do if they knew how loud their music was, 78 percent of teens confessed they would tell them to lower the volume or wear protective gear.

Music has always played a central role in teens’ lives, but over the past decade, the ever-present earbuds attached to popular smartphones and portable music players have caused increasing concern among hearing care professionals,” said Charles Kuratko, Vice President of Business Management at Siemens Hearing Instruments. “When combined with other potentially damaging sound environments (power tools, concerts, etc), the potential for future hearing loss is greater than it has ever been. The good news is teenagers can protect their hearing with a few simple steps.”
To mitigate the risks of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), Siemens recommends the following:

  • Prevention: The best way to deal with NIHL is to stop it before it happens. Buying headphones instead of earbuds keeps some of the direct sound out of teens’ ears. Ear protection should always be used in loud environments like concerts, sporting events and when operating power equipment.
  • Stop future damage: If teens do experience symptoms like ringing or buzzing in their ears, they should immediately turn down the volume, wear ear protection, or see a hearing care professional.
  • Move to the middle: When going to a concert or club, sitting in the middle of the room helps reduce noise exposure.
  • Help a friend: Teens should warn one another if they’re putting their hearing at risk. If you can hear your neighbor’s music over the headphones, it’s too loud.
  • Custom ear protection: Custom-molded musician’s earplugs and high-decibel earplugs are recommended for teens who play in bands or are frequently in loud environments.

Personal listening devices can generate up to 120 dB of volume with safe listening being at 85 dB or below. Speech and Hearing Associates offers custom ear bud limiters and  musician’s earplugs to help you and your family safely enjoy using your favorite devices.

For more information on teen hearing loss and to download a full report of the survey findings, visit

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The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 52,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world. In fiscal year 2013 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 13.6 billion euros and profit of 2.0 billion euros. For further information please visit: or the Siemens Expo Page on Audiology Online.