Wait What’d You Say?



How loud is too loud? Check this chart to see.

Natan Solomon, Staff Writer

  “Wait, what’d you say?” Imagine a life without the ability to hear the new album that just dropped, all of your friends are raving about “Astroworld” by Travis Scott or “Scorpion” by Drake.This is becoming a realization because people around America are suffering hearing loss, especially the youth. Hearing loss naturally occurs during a person’s 40’s; however, as of recently hearing loss is evident in many teenagers. Once a person loses their hearing it is extremely hard to get it back and can never be fully recovered. This slow, winding road to deafness is being traveled more rapidly due to innovations in a electronics and a lack of education regarding the subject.

Hearing loss is a cumulative process, meaning that once damage is done it can’t be reversed and everytime you suffer hearing loss, it adds up. This was recently publicized on a popular news station among teenagers called “Vice”. Vice’s article talks about how to prevent hearing loss and had the objective of informing people about it’s dangers. In the article, they provided a baffling statistic claiming that if a person listens to music on Apple earbuds on full volume for thirty minutes or more, permanent hearing loss begins to set in. Just thirty minutes of music can be detrimental and cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss that may haunt a person for the rest of their life. Although this claim seems unrealistic, the science supports it. To break it down, tiny hair cells in the inner ear receive and send information and sound to the brain. When noise exposure becomes too much for these hair cells, they are damaged permanently and can’t efficiently send signals to the brain.

In teens, the most common cause of hearing loss is excessive noise exposure and this specifically is the cause for hearing loss in more than one in every ten teens. For example, music in headphones is the primary cause for this. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “the use of headphones and earbuds has led to a major increase in hearing loss in adolescents”. This has been made evident through the shocking statistic which states: 1.1 billion 12 to 35 year olds across the world are at risk of experiencing hearing loss from noise exposure. This may be partially attributed to the fact that big electronic companies like Apple failed to give a warning to their many consumers about the danger of listening to music on their devices at an excessively high volume until recently.

On April 30, 2018, Apple added a statement to their support page that addresses the widespread problem of hearing loss from exposure. Their statement was: “ Warning. Permanent hearing loss might occur if you use headphones at a high volume. The louder the volume, the quicker your hearing could be affected.” The apple headphones that come with every single Iphone purchased directly from them, can produce a maximum of 115 decibels which is the equivalent of attending a rock concert. With so much power to harm oneself, Apple was too late with their support statement and endured a class action lawsuit, pursued by a Louisiana man who claims there were a lack of warnings issued regarding possible hearing loss. Although Apple won the appeal and eventually didn’t lose money, the case proves there is some doubt to their approach of warning people.

Fast forward to October 2018, Mrs Jacques, the AP Psychology teacher at West Boca High, is teaching the unit about hearing to her class. She runs through the science of hearing and hearing loss then looks up a video on Youtube, posted by “ASAP Science,” a popular educational account. The video is titled “How Old Are your Ears? (Hearing Test)” Mrs Jacques told everyone to raise their hand if they could hear the tone. The video played different frequency noises that correspond to how old your ears are. At one point in the video, the video said if you can’t hear this sound, then your ears are 30 years old. Multiple people put their hands down. The next noise was for 20 year olds, half the class put their hands down. By the end of the video, a quarter of the class had their hands up. Only a quarter of the class had maintained their hearing and have the hearing of a teenager, which they should have. This exercise astonished the class and proved that hearing loss is a serious problem. Try the test for yourself in the video above.


Hearing loss is a prevalent problem in today’s society and needs to be addressed promptly. There is a major negative impact on people around the world, which is being amplified through big companies and is exponentially affecting the youth as technology progresses further. This impairment can be addressed in school through emphasis in class and making it mandatory for curriculum to reach this salient topic. In doing this, we may save a generation from a tragic, irreversible state of deafness.