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Billions of young adults at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits claims new study

According to a new study published by BMJ Global Health Journal, over 1 billion young adults are at a huge risk of hearing loss due to ‘Unsafe Listening Practices’.

One of the many issues in public health that isn’t given enough attention is hearing loss. Over 430 million individuals are experiencing hearing loss globally, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), and this figure is expected to double if action is not taken quickly enough. The unsafe listening pratices on personal listening devices (PLDs; such as mobile phones or MP3 players) and/or from attending loud entertainment venues (such as discotheques, pubs, and clubs) are the main culcprits behind hearing loss.

And it goes without saying that policies and practices for hearing protection should be implemented wherever practicable. With the conclusion of the study also stating,

“Unsafe listening practices are highly prevalent worldwide and may place over 1 billion young people at risk of hearing loss. There is an urgent need to prioritise policy focused on safe listening. The World Health Organization provides comprehensive materials to aid in policy development and implementation”.

The study, “Prevalence and Global Estimates of Unsafe Listening Practices in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, published in the BMJ Global Health Journal, aims to investigate the negative effects of personal listening devices (PLDs) and loud entertainment venues on young people’s exposure to music.

Data from 35 records comprising more than 19,000 participants were collected for the study from young people aged 12 to 34. Out of the 35 records 17 were examined on PLDs and the remaining 18 on live music events. And it was revealed that 24% were listening to music at a “unsafe” decibel level while 48% had been exposed to harmful noise levels during live music events. Overall, the study concluded that between 670 million and 1.35 billion teenagers and young adults are already at risk of developing hearing loss owing to unsafe listening habits.


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