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One Billion Young People in Danger of Hearing Loss

March 2, 2015
Public Health

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), estimates that up to 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults could be in danger of suffering permanent hearing loss.

Researchers found that nearly 50% of 12 to 35 year olds were exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices, while 40% were exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.

“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” said Dr 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.”

WHO figures show that 43 million 12 to 35 year olds already have some form of hearing loss and the problem is increasing. It is estimated that half of all hearing loss cases across the globe are avoidable.

The report recommends that young people should take listening breaks, consider using personal audio devices for no more than one hour a day and make use of technology including apps and noise cancelling headphones to reduce levels.

To mark tomorrows (3 March) International Ear Care Day, WHO will be launching the “Make Listening Safe” campaign to draw attention to the dangers of excessive noise levels.