Fears of hearing damage in teens prompts warning

Fears of hearing damage in teens prompts warning
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Fears of hearing damage in teens prompts warning

New research indicates potentially alarming level of hearing damage in young people who are exposed to loud music.

The researchers interviewed and performed detailed hearing tests on a group of 170 students in Brazil between 11 and 17 years old, learning that almost all of them engage in “risky listening habits” – at parties, clubs and on personal listening devices. More than a quarter of them had already experienced tinnitus, which typically affects people over 50, whilst many has a reduced Sound Level Tolerance (SLT) that some researchers suggest could be an early indication of a vulnerability to hidden synaptic injury.

NCHA Policy Officer Jakob Stenkvist commented, “More needs to be done to educate the public about protecting and maintaining good hearing as part of a regular health regime.

“Reduced hearing traditionally affects people over 50, and we need to increase efforts to encourage people to protect their hearing from a young age. Hearing loss is already one of the great unaddressed public health challenges of our time – anything that can be done now to encourage adolescents not to damage their hearing for later life should be welcomed.”

On this year’s World Hearing Day the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that unsafe listening practices could be harmful to the hearing of teenagers and young adults in high and middle income countries. (See 1.1 Billion Young Adults at Risk of Hearing Loss blog post.)

Read research in full