WHO advocates safer listening practices to avoid hearing loss

March 18, 2019

Neurological hearing loss is a typical health problem due to exposure to unsafe noise levels according to Pan Tao, an otologist from the Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing. His department receives more and more patients with the impairment, including teenagers.

Data from the WHO has indicated that nearly 50% of teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 were exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices, while around 40% were exposed to damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues – possibly leading to permanent damage of the ear’s sensory cells.

The results have grabbed nationwide attention on the internet in China where many users admit that hearing loss is largely neglected. Often the problem is only found out after more noticeable symptoms like tinnitus.

Pan has said that those who suffer mild hearing loss can usually carry out daily communication unaffected, but the damage can become irreversible if not properly treated within the first two or three months.

The WHO has thus warned of devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment, and has advised keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, using noise-canceling earphones or headphones, and wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues.

The WHO has also launched the “Make Listening Safe” initiative in conjunction with International Ear Care Day celebrated on March 3 to draw attention to the dangers of unsafe listening and to promote safer practices.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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