Tinnitus On The Rise

Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 11:05am

Doctor say loud music may be to blame for younger generation's ear problems.

Before rushing out to buy the latest gadgets this holiday season, you may want to purchase with caution.

Products like iPods and MP3 players are always hot gift ideas, but excessive use of these could lead to hearing problems.

Tinnitus is a growing problem among teens and young adults, and repeated exposure to loud music may be to blame.

Tinnitus affects some 50-million Americans, and the cases are growing among young adults and in teens as young as 12-years-old.

People have described it as a ringing or chirping in their ears.

The noise usually gets louder when the room is quiet.

"We can see early signs of noise induced hearing loss if you just walk on a college campus and you take the ear phones out of people's ears and say, 'Let's do a hearing test.' A lot of them are experiencing at least transient or passing Tinitus if not an ongoing problem from permanent hearing loss," says Dr. Ted Mazer.

Dr. Mazer says he's seen an uptick in cases involving younger patients.

Treatment is varied, but not very effective.

"They're bothered by their hearing loss but they're really annoyed by the ringing in their ears and there's limited amounts of things we can do for them," says Dr. Mazer.

Prolonged use of an iPod or MP3 player, going to loud concerts or being exposed to noisy environments are all contributing factors.

Experts are emphasizing prevention techniques.

Dr. Mazer's rule of thumb: Don't turn a device's volume dial past two thirds capacity, and don't listen to music for longer than two hours at a time.


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