Are Kids Not Listening or Can They Not Hear?



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Airpods are quite popular and are used in many aspects of modern life, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any danger to them.

Carldenis Raymond, Reporter

In recent years, the amount of people suffering from hearing loss has greatly increased. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), It is projected that by the year 2050, 1 in every 10 will have disabling hearing loss. This worrisome increase has been attributed to the misuse of headphones, especially using them at a dangerous volume.

Listening to sounds for too long or too loud can damage your ear’s health. It overworks and damages your hair cells, membranes, nerves, and other parts of your ears. This results in temporary or permanent hearing loss, skin chafing, itchiness, tinnitus, noise sensitivity, imbalance, and ear pain. These symptoms can continue even after the harmful noise exposure has stopped.

It is especially unsafe when the loud sounds are accidental or unexpected. There are instances in which AirPods may blast loud sounds while the user is unaware beforehand. One instance with a teenager in Texas has caused this issue to be illuminated. The teen, B.G., was watching Netflix on a low volume when an amber alert went off. Because AirPods are not able to reduce the volume of alerts to a safe volume nor give a warning that a dangerously loud sound was about to be played, B.G. was ambushed by the amber alert. So, without warning, the amber alert blasted into B.G.’s ear at a volume that tore his eardrum, damaged his cochlea, and affected his hearing. This caused B.G. to suffer from dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and tinnitus.


According to WHO, about 50% of young people (this accounts for more than 1.1 billion people aged 12-35 years old) are at risk of suffering from hearing loss because of their extended exposure to loud sounds, especially through the use of headphones.

You may be able to catch onto this with your friends and see how their hearing has been affected. One student at West Boca has reported that his hearing has been progressively worsening as he continues to misuse his AirPods and his volume control. He has been using AirPods since 2018 but has used earbuds in general for much longer. He reported that he started losing his hearing around two years ago and it has affected his way of life. 

“It’s been very difficult, I can’t hear people very well especially if we’re in a loud area, I have to ask people to repeat themselves very often.”


This is obviously due to the volume he puts his AirPods on. When asked what volume he puts his AirPods on, he responded with: “About two notches from the maximum volume.” An incredibly dangerous volume level if used on a consistent basis. But, when asked why he puts his AirPods at such a high volume, he said that he “can’t hear anymore at lower volumes,” which indicates that possibly more than 30% of the hair cells in his ear that help with hearing have been damaged.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that around 30-50% of your hair cells can be damaged and/or destroyed before a hearing test would be able to notice changes in your hearing. That means that many key components to your hearing could be irreparably damaged or destroyed before anybody’s able to catch on to it. This is especially dangerous because in an article, 5 Ways To Know That Your Headphones Are Too Loud, a clinical audiologist, Carreen P. Henson, stated that “noise-induced hearing loss often causes sensorineural hearing loss which is actually irreversible.”

If you want to keep your hearing throughout your life, here’s what you can do:

You should set your volume at 50-60% of the maximum volume. It is also recommended to wear your AirPods for (at maximum) 90 minutes.  Afterward, gently massage and rest your ears for at least 10-15 minutes before continuing. However, instead of doing this, an alternative is just wearing one AirPod at a time. This would allow you to listen to whatever you’re listening to for a longer period of time while staying safe. As long as you don’t listen to it at a loud volume.

Airpods are an essential part of the lives of the majority of teens in the US, so, if you would like to keep on using them, use them right or you might not be able to use them at all.