You can’t spend all day and a chunk of the night pumping high-volume audio directly into your ears via headphones and earbuds without causing some kind of damage. Now there’s more research from a Canadian group that says that mobile phones are threatening the hearing of an entire generation.
The big issue is tinnitus, that horrible never-ending ringing in the ears from which escape is impossible. (My mother has it; she can’t fall asleep unless she masks the noise with the radio; something that drives my father nuts.) It’s estimated that some 300 million people around the world suffer from tinnitus and predictions are that this number is only going to climb higher, thanks to careless use of personal music devices.
New research from the boffins at McMaster University in Hamilton tested 170 teenaged students and found that over a quarter of them are already suffering from persistent and chronic tinnitus. They consider this an indication of hidden permanent damage to the sound-processing nerves of the ear and the brain. Unlike some hearing loss issues, this nerve damage cannot be undone.