A study published in the scientific journal “BMJ Global Health” underlines the urgent need for preventive measures for hearing health
The common habits among young people, the use of headphones – usually at full volume – and the frequenting of environments with loud music have aroused concern from specialists. A study recently published in the scientific journal BMJ Global Health estimates that more than 1 billion adolescents and young people worldwide are at risk of suffering Hearing loss due to these practices. According to the study, there is an urgent need to prioritize policies focused on preventive measures for hearing health.
The publication analyzed data from 33 peer-reviewed articles published in English, Spanish, French and Russian between 2000 and 2021, covering 19,046 participants aged 12 to 34 from 20 countries.
One part of the studies focused on the use of headphones, while the other evaluated the hearing impacts that entertainment venues with loud music can cause.
It was found that 48% of participants were exposed to noise levels in loud places, such as concerts or nightclubs. It was also revealed that 24% of young people used headphones excessively on devices such as smartphones.
Based on the world population estimate for this age group, which is approximately 2.7 billion people, and taking the two findings into account, the study estimates that between 670,000 and 1.35 billion young people could be at risk of Hearing loss🇧🇷
The risk of hearing loss depends on the loudness, duration and frequency of noise exposure. For adults, the level considered safe is 80 decibels for 40 hours per weekwhile for children it is 75 decibels🇧🇷 A value above 120 decibels can cause immediate damage.
However, the allowable levels change dramatically as the volume increases. For example, the allowable exposure time of a 92 decibel sound is 2.5 hours. When the volume is at 98 decibels, the safe time drops to 38 minutes, and of a sound of 101 decibels, only 19 minutes are allowed, according to information from the study.
Research shows that users of personal listening devices often choose volumes up to 105 decibels, and average sound levels in entertainment venues range from 104 to 112 decibels, exceeding allowable levels even for very short periods of time. Thus, the findings suggest that many young people may be at risk of developing permanent hearing loss.
THE Hearing loss it is a public health problem that deserves global recognition and priority. Currently, more than 430 million people worldwide – more than 5% of the world’s population – suffer from disabling hearing loss and its prevalence could nearly double if prevention were not a priority. THE World Health Organization (WHO) it estimates that number will increase to 700 million by 2050.
According to the study, global prevention efforts would benefit from data on the prevalence and global burden of unsafe listening practices to effectively communicate the need for preventive action by governments, industries and other enforcement parties of policies.
In general, companies that manufacture devices such as headphones or in-vehicle devices program alerts to alert you when the volume level is excessive.
New recommendations to limit the risk of hearing loss, according to WHO
The Global Standard for Safe Hearing in Venues and Events outlines six implementation recommendations to ensure venues and events limit the risk of hearing loss for their participants.
- Maximum sound level of 100 decibels.
- Monitoring and recording of sound levels using calibrated equipment by assigned personnel.
- Optimizes room acoustics and audio systems to ensure pleasant sound quality and safe listening.
- Make personal hearing protection, including instructions for use, available to the public.
- Access to quiet areas where people can rest their ears and reduce the risk of hearing damage.
- Training and information for local workers.
Here’s how to protect your hearing, according to WHO:
- Keep the volume low on personal audio devices.
- Wear well-fitting, noise-cancelling headphones if possible.
- Use earplugs in noisy places.
- Have regular hearing checks.
- Support the new global standard.
Ben Stock is a lifestyle journalist and author at Gossipify. He writes about topics such as health, wellness, travel, food and home decor. He provides practical advice and inspiration to improve well-being, keeps readers up to date with latest lifestyle news and trends, known for his engaging writing style, in-depth analysis and unique perspectives.