Unsafe Listening Behaviors That Can Lead To Hearing Impairments

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    A new study has shown that turning down the racket, could protect more than one billion people at risk of hearing impairments.

    It is very common for adolescents and young adults listen to music, movies and shows that are too loud and too long according to a study published in the journal BMJ Global Health.

    The Lead Study Author Lauren Dillard stated that they estimated that 0.67 to 1.35 billion people aged 12-34 globally engage in unsafe listening practices and are at risk of hearing impairments.

    Dillard is a consultant to the World Health Organization and a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina.

    If the listening practices go on for too long, they can become permanently damaged, following hearing impairments, tinnitus, or both.

    In addition, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of scientific articles regarding unsafe listening behaviors published between 2000 and 2021 across databases.

    Those practices were linked in accordance to use of headphones and attendance at entertainment shows like concerts, bars and clubs.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention limits safe noise levels at about 85 decibels over 40 hours a week. If you are listening for two and a half hours over a day, that equals about 92 decibels.

    The study said that listeners plugged into a smartphone with MP3 audio files, often choose volumes as extreme as 105 decibels and the volumes at venues range from 104 to 112 decibels.

    The analysis of the research was deep and the evidence collected, is a caution sign that hearing impairments be a public health priority, according to De Wet Swanepoel, professor of audiology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

    The professor added that music is a gift to be enjoyed for a lifetime, but it should be done safely.

    It is advisable to prevent the damage before noticing any effects. Some devices allow people to monitor their listening levels as some even alert you when your music volume is too high or if you have ben listening to music for too long.

    Dillard advised to turn down the volume and listen to music for shorter periods of time.

    If at an event, you can protect your hearing by standing further away from speakers and taking breaks away from the noise. Foam ear plugs are also effective ear protection measures.

    “Hearing is the sense that connects us to the people we love,” Swanepoel said in an email. “Taking care of our hearing is key to maintaining healthy relationship(s) and general health and well-being.

    Primary prevention in early adults is critical to avoid earlier onset and accelerated age-related hearing impairments.”

    BY CHRISTINE OMONDI

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