Quinter Matera, a college student in Nairobi, enjoys music through earphones from her smartphone. Experts say direct exposure to audio devices can cause hearing impairment. Photo / Business Today

The use of headphones and music playing devices edged in the ears has increased exponentially among Kenyan adolescents and young adults, as technology brings entertainment to palms and offices. Bad new is this could lead to a “future deaf generation” according to health experts.

They say that since effects of frequent use of headphones are not known to many of the users, they overuse them with music audio playing straight into the ears.

“It’s not only teenagers who are at a risk but anyone who uses headphones more than 90 minutes daily could be endangering their hearing capacity,” Dr. David Kimani, an ENT (ear, nose and throat_ specialist, at Family Heritage Hospital in Murang’a town says.

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Mr Kimani warned that the electromagnetic waves generated by earphones and headphones could have serious effects not only to ears but also to the brain. In the current society, children can easily access portable audio and headphones at tender age and parents are advised to be more concerned with the use of audios by restricting volumes of their devices.

“Parents should be more concerned with their children on usage of headphones. The devices may cause hearing impairment in their older age,” said Kimani

A 2-year-old hearing patient, Mary Wanjohi, said that she used to spend most of her time using a pair of headphones but after two years she noticed the first signs of tinnitus creeping in.

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder

“Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears, and is usually one of the first signs of hearing damage,” added Wanjohi.

She explained that after visiting a medical specialist, she was advised to using earphones since they would cause deafness. “If my hearing got worse, I would never have forgiven myself since it was a problem that I could have avoided but I thank God that I am now getting better and with time I will be well,” she said.

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