Teenagers and young adults at risk of hearing loss, warns the WHO


Teenagers and young adults tend to turn the volume too high on their mobile music devices, as well as going to noisy clubs and concerts, which puts them at and increased risk of hearing loss. A recent statement from the World Health Organisation warns that some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe use of music devices and prolonged use of headphones.

Safe listening depends on the intensity or loudness of sound, and the duration and frequency of listening. Exposure to loud sounds can result in temporary hearing loss or tinnitus which is a ringing sensation in the ear. When the exposure is particularly loud, regular or prolonged, it can lead to permanent damage of the ear’s sensory cells, resulting in irreversible hearing loss.

In terms of recommendations, the WHO advises teenagers and young people to better protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues, and using carefully fitted, and, if possible, noise-cancelling earphones/headphones. Limiting the time spent engaged in noisy activities by taking short listening breaks and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour is also among the preventative measures envisioned, while taking regular hearing check-ups.

The World Health Organisation encourages parents, doctors and teachers to educate young people about safe listening. WHO also states that the highest permissible level of noise exposure in the workplace is 85 dB for up to a maximum of 8 hours per day, while venues where noise levels reach 100 dB, such as concert venues, should reduce the duration of time these levels occur for or reduce the volume....

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