Experts worried about increase in young people with tinnitus
The number of young people with tinnitus is increasing rapidly, and experts are concerned. VeiligheidNL, the knowledge center for injury prevention, advocates for structural early detection of hearing damage, preferably in primary school-age children, and more prevention, AD reports.
Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears, though it can also be buzzing, tapping, hissing, or whistling. Over 2.5 million Netherlands residents, including many young people, suffer from tinnitus in one way or another. In tens of thousands of Dutch people, tinnitus is so severe that it causes psychosocial problems. There is no cure. Sufferers have to learn to live with the constant noise.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of young people between the ages of 12 and 35 regularly find themselves in situations that are harmful to their hearing - loud nightclubs, concerts, or festivals, for example.
There are no exact figures for the Netherlands, but the GGD told AD that thousands of young people are diagnosed with severe hearing problems yearly. Research by Erasmus MC showed that 14 percent of children between the ages of 9 and 11 already have hearing damage.
“That really has to stop,” clinical audiologist Dyon Scheijen, who specializes in tinnitus, said to the newspaper. “This generation will soon have a lot of problems understanding speech when they are 40+. With all the consequences thereof.”
Saskia Kloet of VeilgheidNL advocates for providing information and looking for hearing damage at an early age. “We think it makes sense to structurally check children’s hearing in upper primary or lower secondary school through an annual test.”
Prevention is also important, according to Wil Verschoor, director of Hoormij/NVVS. Studies showed that approximately half of the attendees of festivals Lowlands and Pinkpop wear hearing protection, the newspaper wrote. “That is half too little,” Verschoor said to AD. The average rock concert produces around 100 decibels, comparable to the noise of a fighter jet. “Anyone who doesn’t wear earplugs incurs acute hearing damage.”
“It is still not sexy to go to a concert or nightclub with earplugs,” said Robert Stokroos, head of the ENT department at UMC Utrecht. “Fortunately, awareness among young people is increasing, but it is still far from sufficient. What we see now is just the tip of the iceberg. Many people suffered damage years ago and are only now being confronted with it. We expect a wave in about five years.”