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Over 1 billion young people at risk of hearing loss due to this

Researchers found 24 percent of youngsters listen to music too loudly on their devices while 48 percent of them go to loud gigs.

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Surprised European woman listens great song in headphones, shocked with too loud volume, picks song in playlist, decided what to listen, wears stylish clothes, stands against rosy background.
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By Gwyn Wright via SWNS

More than one billion young people are at risk of hearing loss partly due to the rise of headphones and ear buds, warns a new study.

Scientists say their use as well as going to loud gigs is placing them at risk.

Currently, more than 430 million people have disabling hearing loss and young people are especially vulnerable to the condition because they use loud devices.

Noise regulations are also poorly enforced, the researchers add.

The team are now calling for governments around the world to prioritize "safe listening policies" in a bid to tackle the problem.

Earlier research has found people often crank up the volume on their phones, headphones and earbuds to levels as high as 105 decibels, around the same level as entertainment venues where music tends to play at between 104 and 112 decibels.

These exceed the permissible level of 80 decibels for adults and 75 decibels for children.

The American researchers wanted to work out how many teenagers and young adults are listening to unsafely loud music and use those figures to estimate how many of them are at risk of hearing loss.

The team trawled research databases for relevant studies published in English, French, Spanish and Russian involving 12-34 year-olds and reporting on objectively measured device output levels and length of exposure.

For the new study, they looked at 33 existing studies on 35 records with just under 20,000 (19,046) participants in total.

Of them, 17 records focused on personal listening devices while the other 18 focused on noisy entertainment venues.

They estimated the number of youngsters worldwide who could lose their hearing by considering the estimated global population of 12–34 year olds in 2022 (2.8 billion) and the best estimates of exposure to excessively loud noise, calculated from the existing literature.

They found 24 percent of youngsters listen to music too loudly on their devices while 48 percent of them go to loud gigs.

Based on these figures, the team say the global number of teens and young adults who could potentially be at risk of hearing loss as a result ranges from 0.67 to 1.35 billion.

Study author Dr. Lauren Dillard from the Medical University of South Carolina said: “There is an urgent need for governments, industry, and civil society to prioritize global hearing loss prevention by promoting safe listening practices.”

The findings were published in the journal BMJ Global Health.

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