Prolonged use of smartphones and exposure to noise in public entertainment venues responsible
At least 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) press release.
The UN body analysed data from studies in middle- and high -income countries which indicates that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50 per cent are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and 40 per cent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sound can be exposure to more than 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,” notes Etienne Krug, WHO director for the department for management of non-communicable 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.”
The organisation will also launch the “Make Listening Safe” initiative to mark International Ear Care Day, celebrated each year on March 3. The aim of the initiative would be to draw attention to the dangers of unsafe listening and promote safer practices. In collaboration with partners worldwide, WHO will alert young people and their families about the risks of noise-induced hearing loss and advocate towards governments for greater attention to this issue as part of their broader efforts to prevent hearing loss generally.
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