Research: More than one-billion youth are at risk of hearing loss

Research: More than one-billion youth are at risk of hearing loss

According to a study published by BMJ Global Health, over one-billion young people will lose their hearing in the near future due to excessive use of headphones, earbuds or attending loud music events. 

Young person using headphones
young person using headphones /iStock

The use of headphones and earbuds has gained popularity over the years. Many youngsters enjoy listening to music for hours using their headphones.  

Almost all smartphones come with headphones. You can even connect Bluetooth headphones to your television, or use them on your PC.  

Headphones allow you to enjoy what you want to hear without being disturbed by outside noise.

Although there are many benefits that come with using headphones, excessive use of headphones, especially on high volume, come with a health risk. It threatens one's hearing ability and can result in hearing loss. This is because loud noise can damage the hair cells and the more the cells get damaged, you can permanently suffer from hearing loss. It is important to note that hair cells are not replaceable and do not regrow.

Also,  research published by BMJ Global Health found that attendance at loud music venues with poor regulatory enforcement also puts one at risk of hearing loss. With so many shows and concerts, sadly, many people continue to expose themselves to loud music at these events. Other loud music venues include clubs, bars, sports events, and some restaurants. 

WATCH: Seven-year-old hears for the first time after losing her hearing as a baby

This research is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) who state that 'around 50 percent of people ages 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, such as music heard through personal audio devices'. 

Dr Daniel Fink, board chair of the Quiet Coalition, told Healthline that people assume that significant hearing loss is part of normal ageing, however, he says this is not always the case. 

“I think on a broader level, the medical and audiology communities, as well as the general public, don’t understand that significant hearing loss is not part of normal healthy ageing, but largely represents noise-induced hearing loss. Similarly, without exposure to loud noise, we should be able to hear well into old age, something generally not true in industrialised societies,” he added. 

The good news is that you have the power to reduce your risk of hearing loss.

Health experts recommend sound levels to be kept between 60 and 85 decibels. According to Hearing Health Foundation, that’s the sound of a normal conversation between two people. 

Read 'Why it’s important to protect your hearing at any age' for more tips on how you can prevent hearing loss.

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Image courtesy of iStock/ @Ridofranz

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