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Why are more than a billion young people at risk of hearing loss?

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Geoffrey Branger
06:10, November 22, 2022modified to

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8:13 a.m., November 22, 2022

Between 670 million and 1.35 billion humans aged 12 to 34 today are at risk of hearing loss. At the origin of this worrying scourge, the extent of which is denounced in the scientific journal BMJ Global Health, excessively high volumes in headphones, earphones, discos or concert halls. “A single exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the auditory system that may be temporary. But over time, continued exposure can lead to noticeable and irreversible hearing loss,” said the study’s lead author, Lauren K. Dillard, Doctor at the Medical University of South Carolina, USA.

“Beyond 80 decibels, you put your hearing at risk”

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The louder the sound level, the more the allowable time decreases. Denis le Squer, Managing Director of the Hearing Foundation explains “that beyond 80-85 decibels you put your hearing at risk”. “Listening to music through headphones today can go up to 100 decibels,” he adds.

According to standard recommendations, the acceptable limit during exposure to 80 decibels is set at 8 hours per day (80 decibels: heavy car traffic, noisy restaurant). For 100 decibels, the acceptable limit is only 19 minutes, a young person who listens to music loudly on his phone for several hours therefore risks seriously damaging his hearing, especially if this listening is regular.

What are the first signs of too much noise exposure?

For Denis le Squer, it is essential to pay attention to the first signs. “As soon as you feel pain in your hearing or if you hear tinnitus, so buzzing, whistling, you should not hesitate to consult a doctor or an ENT specialist”, he explains. . According to Lauren K. Dillard, you also have to worry when you have difficulty perceiving high-pitched sounds or following a conversation in a noisy environment.

In order to preserve your hearing, several tips: reduce the volume of all your devices, set up alerts when a certain threshold of decibels is exceeded, the experts also recommend taking a break after two hours of listening to the headphones or earphones.

To help you, the Hearing Foundation has set up the Höra application, recognized as a public utility by the World Health Organization. On this application, you can do a hearing assessment, and you will have access to a sound meter to know how many decibels you are exposed to (a 100% free application).

Source: Europe1

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