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Billions of youth are warned by the WHO to be at risk of permanent hearing loss

  • Hearing loss refers to a person who has a partial or total inability to hear
  • Given that we have the technological know-how in prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music
  • We all should be aware that once we lose our hearing, it will never come back

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns young people from using headphones with too loud music as this could lead to permanent hearing loss.

In the year 2050, the WHO estimated over 900 million people or 1 in every 10 people experiencing hearing loss.


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Hearing loss refers to a person who has a partial or total inability to hear. Currently, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – haves disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children).

Hearing loss can affect one or both ears that leads to difficulty in hearing communication.

Due to prolonged exposure to loud sounds from audio devices, such as headphones or earphones and smartphones, the WHO revealed that almost 50 percent of young people, aged 12 to 35 years old (or about 1.1 billion) are at risk.

WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns that it may be good that we have modern technology in helping us prevent hearing loss, but it is not an excuse to continue listening to loud music to damage our hearing.

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“Given that we have the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music,” he said.

We all should be aware that once we lose our hearing, it will never come back.

Ghebreyesus added, “They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back.”

As we celebrated World Hearing Day last March 3, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), decided to work on the issue in making an international standard of manufactures and use of devices to make smartphones and audio players less harmful to hearing.

There are safety habits recommended to protect hearing while enjoying music through the use of headphones.

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The WHO recommends to:

1. Use carefully fitted noise-canceling earphones or headphones.

2. Set the volume of personal audio devices to no more than 60% of maximum volume.

3. If possible, wear earplugs in loud environments (e.g.: nightclubs and concerts).

4. Take short listening breaks to reduce your overall exposure (when out at nightclubs, take intermittent breaks by going outside).

5. Stay as far away from sources of loud sounds (e.g.: loudspeakers) as much as possible.

6. Make sure to limit the use of personal audio devices to less than one hour a day.

7. Get regular hearing check-ups if you think you are developing hearing loss.

Hearing is one of the most important senses in our body and we should take good care of it. Because once it is damaged, you’ll surely regret it.

Written by Rhelyn Harder

An open-minded person who seeks to inspire readers through writing. She believes that having the freedom and courage to express oneself is an opportunity to influence others.

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