A new study reveals that over 1 billion teenagers and young adults may be at risk of hearing loss due to loud music.

The study said loud music might come from headphones, earbuds, earphones, and attending loud music venues. The said study was conducted by researchers from different countries led by experts at the University of South Carolina and was published in the BMJ Global Health journal.

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They estimated that 24% of 12- to 34-year-olds are consuming music via personal listening devices at unsafe volume levels. Hence, they are encouraging governments to “urgently” put up policies towards safe listening policies.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 340 million people of any age across the world are currently experiencing disabling hearing loss.

Young people are especially vulnerable to this problem because of personal listening devices (PLDs) like headphones and earphones, smartphones, as well as attending loud music venues. The experts say that this is due to poor policies and regulatory enforcement.

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The researchers noted that recurrent or even single instances of listening can already cause “physiological damage to the auditory system, presenting as transient or permanent tinnitus and/or changes to hearing.”

They added that “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.”

The researchers analyzed unsafe listening rates around the world. They also examined previous studies on personal listening devices and loud music venues between 2000 and 2021.

They also included 33 studies that involved over 19,000 people.

The authors estimate that 23% of adults and 27% of minors studied have been exposed to excessive noise via PLDs.

It’s also been projected that 48% of people around 12- to 34-year-olds across the globe are exposed to excessively loud music in venues like bars or clubs. Albeit, they noted that the estimate has “limited certainty”.

Thus, the researchers estimate that 0.67 billion to 1.35 billion of teenagers and young adults might be at risk of hearing loss.

Still, the findings did not account for “demographic factors” or “changes to policy on safe listening in some countries”, and the researchers have acknowledged that. But, they have concluded that exposure to loud music from PLDs and music venues could translate to about a billion youngsters at risk of hearing loss later in life.

Via: The Guardian



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