Hearing problems plague students

College students face future hearing problems from simple things they do now such as attending loud events and listening to loud music.

Tad Farrand, a Tallahassee audiologist, said that most college students who have hearing problems now are in denial and that the hearing problems will continue as they get older.

“Being young, most college students still feel invincible to hearing problems,” Farrand said. “The truth is, hearing problems can begin as early as 25 years old.”

According to www.youth.hear-it.org, the age group of people with hearing impairments is getting younger.

Statistics from the site show over 50 percent of people in the United States with hearing problems are under the age of 65. The hearing problems of people between the ages of 18-34 have increased by 20 percent.

Loud music is one problem. Students expose themselves to loud music in their cars, dorms or apartments, parties and concerts.

“The sound levels at these parties can be 101 to 108 decibels,” said Samuel Pelham, a Pensacola audiologist. “College students are usually in there for at least two to four hours. That is too much on your ears,” Pelham is also a member of the Southeast Audiologists Society.

Pelham stressed that students who frequently go to loud parties and events need to get checked out for tinnitus.

The symptoms of tinnitus are the perception of ringing, hissing, or other sound in the ears or head when no external sound is present.

Precautions needed to avoid tinnitus and other hearing problems may go unheeded, according to Farrand.

“When going to loud events college student should wear earplugs, but few will actually do that,” Farrand said.

The National Center for Health Statistics recently released a survey to detect the most frequent reasons for hearing loss. Over 33 percent of hearing loss was caused due to excessive noise. Only 28 percent was caused by old age.

“I did not know that it was that easy to get hearing loss,” said James Leonard, 18, a freshman business administration student from Philadelphia. “I thought that was something that only affected older people. I never considered playing my music too loud as a factor.”

Pelham said there are plenty of ways to avoid exposure to loud noise and still be presentable.

“Most college students are not going to wear earplugs to clubs. However, they can do things like reducing the volume on their television, stereo and Walkman. If you’re working in a loud environment, make sure the sound level does not exceed 85 decibels,” Pelham said.

The www.youth.hear-it.org site also advised those who experience tingling feelings in their ears to walk away from the source.