Around 1.1 billion people, mainly young adults and teenagers, are at high risk of suffering from hearing loss due to their excessive use of headphones with volumes beyond the recommended level, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report.
The global health body said that the concerts, bars and audio players have been posing a “serious threat” to the hearing skills of the people, mostly teens and young adults, between the age groups 12 and 35. Listening to “too much or too loud sound” can lead to the permanent hearing disability, said WHO.
If go by the official figures, 43 million people between 12 years and 35 years of age suffer from hearing loss. The condition is worrisome as the prevalence is increasing continuously with the use of audio devices.
The use of personal audio devices has become largely popular among the youth. But the volume level at which they preferably listen to music is very dangerous for their ears as continuous exposure to high volumes can deteriorate the hearing ability of the listener, further making the person deaf.
One of the most common symptoms often faced by the listeners preferring loud volumes is a ringing in the ears. This condition is known as tinnitus. In order to prevent the need for exposure to high volumes, WHO strongly recommends listeners to wear headphones with tighter fittings, noise-cancelling or cutting headphones.
Safe listening times recommended by WHO
- 120 dB – vuvuzela or sirens – 09 seconds
- 115 dB – loud rock concert – 28 seconds
- 105 dB – mp3 player at maximum volume – 04 minutes
- 100 dB – car horn or underground train – 15 minutes
- 95 dB – an average motorcycle – 47 minutes
- 90 dB – lawn mower – 02 hours 30 minutes
- 85 dB – the level of noise inside a car – 08 hours
The health experts at WHO have recommended a good thumb rule for using audio devices and i.e. at the volume to 60 percent of the maximum.
The WHO also recommends use of ear plugs at noisy places. Moreover, “listening breaks” and preferring farther locations from speakers for sitting or standing purposes are advised by the health experts.