Hearing management

Updated 20 September 2016

Youth risk hearing loss due to loud music

Take your headphones out! An estimated 1.1 billion youth are at risk of preventable hearing loss from listening to loud music.

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Some 1.1 billion young people are listening to music at volumes that endanger their hearing and can have other negative effects, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Friday.

Nearly half of teenagers and young adults are exposed to unsafe sound levels on headphones, while some 40 per cent put their hearing at risk at clubs, bars and sports events where "recreational noise" is excessive, WHO said.

Read: Rock concerts put teens' hearing at risk

The UN health agency called on youths to listen to loud music on their headphones to less than one hour per day.

Nightclubs typically play music at 100 decibels, which is the equivalent of hearing a jackhammer at short distance and is safe for only 15 minutes.

Entertainment venues should limit sound levels and offer protective earplugs and quiet zones to their customers, WHO recommended.

Hearing loss can have serious consequences for physical and mental health, and for young people's prospects in education and employment, WHO warned.

"They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won't come back," senior WHO official Etienne Krug said.

The 3rd of March 2015 is the World Health Organisation's International Ear Care Day. The theme for this year is "Making listening safe" which aims to create awareness of the preventable causes of hearing loss such as frequently listening to loud music.

Read more:

iPods and MP3 users risk of hearing loss

Musicians have a greater risk of hearing loss

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

Image: Silhouette of concert crowd from Shutterstock

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Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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