‘1.35 Billion People At Risk Of Losing Hearing Sense Due To Headphones’

by Mujtaba Hussain

SRINAGAR: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that over 50 per cent of people between the age group of 12 to 35 are putting their hearing sense at risk by listening to music and other audio messages through their in-ear personal audio devices at an increased volume level than what is prescribed.

According to the study published by the British Medical Journal, Global Health around 1.35 billion young adults around the world are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

As per experts, damage to hearing health is influenced by noise intensity and exposure time.

A study estimates that around 24 per cent of people who use personal listening devices at a high intensity such as loud music through earbuds, headphones, and other devices are most vulnerable.

“Also, 50 per cent who go to noisy entertainment venues such as discos, bars, and nightclubs are the most vulnerable,” the study reads.

According to the WHO report, using portable devices to listen to music for 15 minutes at 100 decibels is like being exposed to the same sound level as an industrial worker experiences in an eight-hour workday at 85 decibels.

Research by Lauren Dillard of the University of South Carolina states that if people are exposed to continuous loud sounds, sensory cells and other structures in the ear get fatigued and eventually are damaged which can lead to irreversible hearing loss, and tinnitus (continuous loud ringing sound).

Luis Lassaletta, President Otology Commission Spanish Society of Otolaryngology says that the range in the prevalence of these unsafe listening practices is very wide and does not differ from what the scientific community already knew. “This study is very useful for raising awareness about the risks of noise.”

Meanwhile, studies have shown that hearing loss leads to depression, loss of livelihood, and even dementia.

In order to lower the risk, experts advise standing farther from the source of the noise, taking regular breaks, and, using high-fidelity earplugs.

The WHO estimates that more than 430 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and that figure may double if investment in prevention mechanisms are not put in place.

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