By Andrew Gregory, The Guardian | More than 1 billion teenagers and young adults may be at risk of hearing loss because of their use of headphones, earphones and earbuds and attendance at loud music venues, a study suggests. An international team of researchers estimate that 24% of 12- to 34-year-olds are listening to music on personal listening devices at an “unsafe level”. The findings were published in the journal BMJ Global Health.

They called for governments to “urgently” implement safe listening policies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 430 million people of all ages worldwide currently have disabling hearing loss. Young people are particularly vulnerable because of their use of personal listening devices (PLDs), such as smartphones, headphones and earbuds, and from visiting loud music venues, amid poor regulatory enforcement.

“Recurrent or even single instances of unsafe listening may cause physiological damage to the auditory system, presenting as transient or permanent tinnitus and/or changes to hearing,” the researchers said.

“Damage from unsafe listening can compound over the life course, and noise exposure earlier in life may make individuals more vulnerable to age-related hearing loss.”

Their study examined rates of unsafe listening around the world.

The researchers, led by academics at the University of South Carolina in the US, examined previous studies on personal listening devices and loud music venues that took place between 2000 and 2021.

Thirty-three studies involving just over 19,000 people were included in the analysis.

The authors estimated that 23% of adults studied and 27% of “minors” were exposed to excessive noise from personal listening devices.
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By Andrew Gregory, Health editor | @andrewgregory

[Thanks to Alex Teitz for contributing this article! http://www.femmusic.com]

Photo: Head w-head phones (2021 photos)

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