In Brazil, eight out of ten teenagers and young adults use personal listening devices and have unsafe listening practices when listening to music. Many of them show early symptoms of hearing loss and experience tinnitus.
Listening to loud music directly into the ear can damage the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of damaging their hearing due to their unsafe listening practices.
Researchers from Tuiuti University of Paraná, Curitiba in Brazil have conducted a study investigating the habits and behavior of adolescents exposed to amplified music with headphones and its implications on their hearing. 131 high school students aged 15 to 18 years participated in the study.
Unsafe listening habits
The study found that 79% of young people make use of portable listening devices and that 62% have a habit of using them often. More than one out of three young people have long periods of exposure at a high level of volume.
Symptoms of hearing loss
The study also found that several symptoms of hearing loss were present in many of the study participants. More than 60% had concentration problems and also often needed people to repeat themselves, while 44% indicated that they often felt a need to turn up the volume on the TV. In addition, nearly two out of five study participants indicated that they felt bothered by tinnitus.
More than one out of three (36.6%) young people had concerns about hearing loss related to the use of personal stereos. Regarding preventive aspects, it was found that 81% of respondents find it important to reduce noise pollution in society.
According to the World Health Organization a volume above 85 dB for eight hours or 100 dB for 15 minutes is considered unsafe. To counter the risk, the WHO recommends that young people keep the volume down on their personal listening devices.
The study was published in International Tinnitus Journal.
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