It’s very possible you’re teens aren’t ignoring you. If they’re as tuned into personal listening devices as their friends are, hearing loss may be the actual culprit.
By Dr. Ronald Vilela, Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Texas Children’s Hospital
Mom: “Turn down the volume!”
Child: “But, Mom, I need to feel the bass line!”
Mom: “Feel the bass line now, and in a few years, you won’t be able to hear it at all!”
Does this sound familiar to you? I’m sure it does to most parents, especially those of teenagers who come to my clinic. I am also sure these parents have heard various retorts such as, “Only old people lose their hearing,” “It’s just music, so it’s safe,” or “I heard you, so I can hear just fine!”
Wrong on all counts.
Today, more than ever, young people are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss because of repeated exposure to loud sounds from personal listening devices like iPods or MP3 players inserted into the ears.
When I see patients, especially teenagers, in the Otolaryngology Clinic they are surprised to find out that when they turn the volume up to the max of 150 decibels on their MP3 player they may as well be standing on a runway of an airport as planes fly by.
Being young, they may not take the danger of noise-induced hearing loss seriously. But they should. When I tell parents that up to 16 percent of young adults suffer from hearing loss directly due to listening to loud music, they begin to pay a bit more attention. When I tell them hearing loss can result in reduced school performance and affect a child’s grade point average and where they go to college, they pay even more attention. By the time I mention noise-induced hearing loss can result in wearing hearing aids, they are usually “all ears.”
Many teenagers are not even aware they suffer from hearing loss. But, parents can usually tell.
If you suspect your teen or child has a hearing loss, it’s important to seek a hearing evaluation by an audiologist. If your child has been diagnosed with a hearing loss, schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist – a physician who treats conditions of the ear, nose or throat – to help with elucidating the diagnosis and to discuss treatment options for hearing loss or other ear-related conditions.