Young people surround themselves with much too loud music and noise, in general.
"All youngsters should wear hearing protection as soon as they walk out the door,' warned professor and audiologist Therese Ovesen of Århus Sygehus, a central hospital, in the Danish newspaper, BT.
According to the professor, the youngsters lead a noisy lifestyle centred around discoteques, cafés, fitness centres and cinemas, where the foundation is laid for a hearing loss.
The newspaper recorded the noise levels at a popular Copenhagen discoteque and found excessive noise levels. In many instances, levels were recorded between 120 and 130 dB.
"Just two minutes in 110 dB damages your hearing permanently," warned Therese Ovesen.
Three hours at a discoteque with constant noise levels of 115 dB brings noise exposure equivalent to the maximum total recommended noise exposure in a whole year, according to calculations by the Danish workplace health authorities, provided to BT.
"These youngsters run the risk of permanent tinnitus at a young age," said the professor. She added that many of today's young people will suffer from hearing problems like today's 70 year-olds by the time they reach the age of 50.
The owners of night clubs and cinemas share in the responsibility for the noise levels, but they are reluctant to turn down the volume out of fear of losing customers.
"Our customers are primarily attracted by the music. If I turned down the volume I might as well just close up," explained the owner of one Copenhagen night club
The young people are generally unaware of the dangers and take little care of their hearing.
"Even when they just listen to music on their walkman at home they turn up the sound. They are not thinking, and they certainly aren't concerned about how easily they may suffer with damaged hearing in the future," said Therese Ovesen to BT.
According to the newspaper, 15 to 20 percent of the Danish population experience tinnitus on and off. Swiss and British studies found that about 70 percent of young people who frequent discoteques, experience tinnitus and hearing loss after a night out. The hearing level often returns to normal, but the ears suffer damage, increasing the probability of permanent hearing loss later on.
Source: BT, 28. July, 2004.
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