Listening too loudly — and too long — to music or games is linked to a rise in teenage hearing loss, says Katrina R. Stidham, MD, Chief of Neurotology and Medical Director of the Balance Center at the Westchester Medical Health Network. “In the past 10 years, I’ve seen a significant rise in teenagers with symptoms of hearing loss, including complaints of ringing or buzzing in the ears [tinnitus], difficulty hearing in the classroom, needing to increase volume on the television, and asking to have information repeated,” Dr. Stidham says. “It is not so much the method of delivery but the (audio or video device, itself) that places hearing at risk, because it allows listening at higher volume levels than are safe.”
In fact, the volume at which teenagers typically listen, can cause damage after just 15 minutes. She recommends audio/video devices be set to no more than 60 percent maximum volume, allowing for safe usage for up to four hours daily.