Loud music damages hearing faster, UN says millennials most at risk

February 15, 2019

The UN health agency advises against loud music that potentially damages hearing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) figure some 450 million people worldwide have debilitating hearing loss, and that number is expected to nearly double to 900 million by 2050 – about one in every 10 people.

Dr. Shelly Chadha of WHO’s prevention of deafness and hearing loss programme, has said that young people are especially at risk of hearing loss by regularly listening to music through their headphones,which do not limit dangerously high noise levels.

So far, only the European Union (EU) mandates output levels on personal audio devices to a standard of 85 decibels, with a maximum of 100 decibels – a level less damaging to the ears.

Thus, the WHO is urging manufacturers and regulators to ensure their audio players have software with certain features that does not leave very loud music on for too long. Chadha proposes automatic volume reduction and parental control of the volume, such that ventures over the sound limit will automatically reset the device to a lesser volume. This is to empower the user to make the right listening choice to avoid developing hearing loss or tinnitus as quickly.

The WHO is also working on similar regulations for different venues – restaurants, bars, nightclubs and even fitness classes – which often have very high levels of sound being played and exposure to it for a long time.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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