29 May 2013

Young Australians risk long-term hearing damage

One-in-five Australians frequently attend noisy venues or listen to loud music through headphones. Although 70% of 18-34-year-old Australians have experienced temporary tinnitus, they ignore the danger of a permanent hearing loss.

The Australian Hearing's Health Report, a study conducted on behalf of the federal government agency Australian Hearing, has shown that one-in-five Australians regularly listen to loud music through headphones. 60% of these people often have the volume above a safe level, with the younger Australians being the age group most at risk of getting a long-term hearing damage.

Most Australians are aware that high and frequent noise exposure could harm their hearing. However, one-in-five frequently attend loud venues such as pubs and bars and listen to music through headphones.

Thus, 12% go to noisy places at least once in a week, while 28% use headphones or headsets within the same time frame. Alarmingly, almost two-in-three listening to music through headphones have the volume so high that other people have to yell in order to be heard.

Younger Australians downplay the risk

The age group consisting of 18 to 24 years old Australians were the most reluctant to accept a link between heavy noise exposures and short-term hearing damage. One-in-four within this age group did not realise that once your hearing is damaged, it cannot be re-established. In contrast, only 6% of the 65+ year old Australians share this belief.

Furthermore, 60% of all Australians have experienced significant tinnitus and this was even more prevalent in the younger age segment. 70% of the 18-34 year olds have accordingly suffered from a noticeable tinnitus at some point.

The divergence between the young Australian's and older age groups' awareness, perceptions and behaviour in relation to healthy hearing could reflect differences in their lifestyles. Younger Australians are hence more likely to attend bars, pubs and listen to music through headphones.

One thousand adults were questioned

In the Australian Hearing's Health Report, 1,000 Australian adults were surveyed for approximately 10 minutes via an online questionnaire.

All respondents were asked about their perceptions of hearing loss, hearing aids and their exposure to potentially damaging noise levels. Participants were males and females from all age groups and all states including both metropolitan and regional areas and all socioeconomic groups.

Source: http://www.hearing.com.au

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