Exposure to excessive noise from traffic, noisy pubs and MP3 players is leading to increasing prevalence of hearing loss in the Spanish population, according to the 58th National Conference of the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Neck and Head Pathology
In the big cities, noise pollution from traffic is one of the biggest problems. Recorded noise levels in Madrid found traffic noise at times as high as 90 dB. Exposure to noise at this level may cause permanent hearing impairment.
Young victims of hearing loss
A study in Barcelona indicated that half of all young people aged between 14 and 27 years suffered from some degree of permanent hearing disability. The main cause was identified as night club noise levels often reaching as high as 100-105 dB, and the use of MP3 players.
In addition, it is estimated that 14-20 year old Spaniards listen to their personal stereos on average three hours daily at noise levels up to 100 dB. Experts believe that hearing loss will affect them by the time they reach the age of 30 or 40 years, which is 20 to 30 years earlier in comparison to their parents' generation.
Source: Iberia Universal, November 15, 2007.