Average age of people with hearing problems gets younger: experts

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–People with impaired hearing are now younger in average age than before, thanks to the popularity of iPod and other portable audio players, according to experts.

Some young employees in work place do not do as they are told not because they do not listen, but because they cannot hear, at least not clearly, the experts said yesterday. Otolaryngologists, physicians specialized in diagnosing and treating diseases of the head and neck, especially those involving the ears, nose, and throat, also agree that young people with impaired hearing are increasing in number as a result of their frequent exposure to “high decibels” through the use of iPods and other audio devices.

In most cases, the cells lining the inner ear become less sensitive to high-frequency sounds, to be followed by a gradual loss of the ability to differentiate dental, alveolardental and interdental consonants in Mandarin Chinese, said Fang Chun-hsien (方峻賢), an audiologist with Phonak Hearing Aids. Hearing loss could impair interpersonal relationship, because people with hearing loss tend to holler when they should be whispering, Fang warned. People with hearing troubles should stop using their iPods and other similar device for a while and seek otolaryngological help, Fang recommended.