Hearing management

Updated 11 December 2017

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.


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

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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