Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Billion at Risk for Hearing Loss from Exposure to Loud Music

News Brief by Lushna Mehra

            The World Health Organization (WHO) has, as the result of its research, come to the conclusion that there are one billion teens and young adults at risk for hearing loss. The cause stems from using personal devices and earbuds to listen to music to going to loud events at entertainment venues like concerts, bars, nightclubs, and sporting events.  Both the amount of time you spend listening to a noise and its loudness affect ear damage.  In analyzing data pertaining to the listening habits of 12- to 35-year-olds in the wealthy countries of the world, the WHO found that about 50% of those studied engage in listening to unsafe sound levels on personal devices and 40% are exposed to unsafe volumes at entertainment venues.  Unsafe volume levels include over 85 dB for 8 hours or over 100 dB for 15 minutes.  The Palo Alto Medical Foundation indicated that 85 dB is similar to the city traffic noises heard from a car, a common everyday sound.  Because of this prevalence of loud noises, about 360 million of the population already have moderate to severe hearing loss, about half of which could have been prevented, according to the UN Health Agency Worldwide.  Hearing loss is permanent and cannot be reversed, only maintained.  Even musical performers, like the Rapper Plan B and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, have suffered from preventable ear damage.  They both have tinnitus, which is marked by a permanent ringing tone heard in the ears.  Plan B noted that he began to think trains were passing his house when the tinnitus began developing and he has to wear special earplugs in order to sleep.  Martin explained that he has taken extra precautions to prevent further ringing or hearing loss by protecting his ears.
           The WHO has since launched a Make Safe Listening initiative.  They stress the alternatives of using headphones or noise canceling earbuds over regular earbuds, not listening to volumes over 60%, taking listening breaks, using an app to monitor volume levels, and protecting ears at entertainment venues in order to prevent the possibility of hearing loss.  WHO also wishes to have an increase in awareness about hearing loss by parents, teachers, and physicians, as well as informing manufactures of devices and managers of entertainment venues about potential precautions they could take.  By taking these measures seriously it is possible to prevent irreversible ear damage.

LaMotte, Sandee. "A Billion at Risk for Hearing Loss from Exposure to Loud Music." CNN. Cable News Network, 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2015. .
blog comments powered by Disqus

TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

  © Free Blogger Templates Autumn Leaves by 2008

Back to TOP