Tell your grandkids! 1.1 billion people, especially young people, at risk of hearing loss, according to World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a strong reminder to take care of your hearing after finding 1.1 billion people, especially young people, are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe use of personal audio devices (such as iPods) and frequent exposure to loud entertainment venues (such as sporting events, concerts, bars and nightclubs).
WHO analysed data from studies in middle and high-income countries like Australia and found among people aged 12 to 35 years, nearly 50 per cent are exposed to damaging sound levels from personal audio devices and 40 per cent are to unsafe noise from entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sound are classified as those in excess of 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.
“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” said Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”
Safe listening depends on the loudness of the sound, as well as the duration and frequency of listening. For example, at sporting events or music concerts, the noise levels are usually around 100 dB which is only safe to listen to for up to 15 minutes.
People can protect their hearing with simple measures such as keep volume down on audio devices and limiting daily use to an hour maximum. WHO also recommends restricting time and frequency at noisy places and taking short listening breaks. But perhaps most important is their advice is to heed recommendation to protect your hearing and get regular hearing check-ups.
Hearing loss can have potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health. Continual exposure to loud noises can result in permanent hearing loss or tinnitus. WHO estimates that half of the 360 million people worldwide who have moderate to profound hearing loss were avoidable. Your hearing is much too precious and important to gamble with so please take care of it!
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