(Transcript from World News Radio)
The World Health Organisation says more than a billion young people around the world are risking their hearing by listening to too much music at a high volume.
A WHO report has found, among middle- and upper-class people between ages 12 and 35, nearly half are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from headphones and concerts.
Emma Hannigan reports.
(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)
Turn down the music.
That is the key message from a new World Health Organisation report that finds nearly half of young upper- and middle-class people play their headphone volume too high.
The WHO recommends listening to loud music on headphones for less than an hour a day.
Audiologist Samantha Rattos agrees.
“It does come down to duration time and, also, how loud the sound is that you’re listening to. So, look, absolutely, turning it down to a safe listening level … you can generally gauge. If someone else can hear it next to you, it’s probably too loud.”
About two in five young people put their hearing at risk at clubs, bars and sports events.
Nightclubs typically play music at 100 decibels, the equivalent of a jackhammer and safe for only 15 minutes.
The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre is launching a pilot study to help venues become less damaging for hearing.
Reseacher Elizabeth Beach says the study is aimed at coming up with practical solutions to help live-music venues reduce their noise exposure.
“Things like simply turning down the volume. There will also be ways that we can work on the sound design. So, just by equalising the sound differently, you can make a fairly significant difference.”
Most people are aware of the dangers of excessive noise exposure in the workplace.
Only recently has leisure-based noise been identified as a problem.
Audiology-clinic operator John Lucchese says his business’s clientele are getting younger.
“Hearing loss begins at very moderate levels of intensity, and it’s something that we’re not aware of when that’s occurring. So the main things that they need to be ensuring that they’re doing is minimising their exposure to that and being aware of the amount of time that they’re exposed to those louder sounds.”
The World Health Organisation warns hearing loss can have serious consequences for physical and mental health.
And, the organisation says, it can also hurt young people’s education and employment prospects.