Smart Phones and Earbuds Cause Risk of Hearing Loss To Teenagers and Young Adults: WHO

The World Health Organization has warned that teenagers and  young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of smart phones and  portable digital music players and  It is growing as a major public health challenge in terms of hearing difficulties.

Most of the teenagers have the risky habit of jamming the earbuds deeply into their ears and listening to loud music. Medical experts say these habits may lead to permanent hearing loss.

According to the National Institute of Health, repeated exposure to sound levels over 45 decibels can cause hearing loss and permanent damage can occur almost immediately after hearing. This is because the loud noise makes damage to the auditory nerves which carry electrical impulses to the ear.Ones damage is done to those nerves, it is permanent and irreversible. The risk of hearing is associated with the loudness of the noise and the duration of exposure.

A new study finds that, nearly 30% of teenagers experience a condition called tinnitus which is a neurological and audiological disorder in the ear.Hearing specialists blame smartphones for this hearing crisis among teens and young people and according to them the listening habits of today's teens can cause chronic tinnitus and permanent hearing loss later on (Source)


What is Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition of the ear that one feels like hearing strange sounds even when any .external sounds are present. Mostly it may sound like ringing in the ear, but also like bussing, humming, grinding hissing or whistling. Some people with tinnitus may experience hearing sounds like music. This condition adversely affects a person’s quality of life including his/her personal, social and work life.

Tinnitus can affect people of all ages, the number of teenagers and young people having tinitus are increasing in a manner that something has to be done against this social health hazard.


1.1 Billion People at Risk of Hearing Loss

According to WHO, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events..

Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibles (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.

“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” notes Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”

WHO recommends that the highest permissible level of noise exposure in the workplace is 85 dB up to a maximum of eight hours per day. 


"Make Listening Safe” initiative by WHO

To mark International Ear Care Day, celebrated each year on March 3rd, WHO is launching the “Make Listening Safe” initiative  to draw attention to the dangers of unsafe listening and promote safer practices. In collaboration with partners worldwide, WHO will alert young people and their families about the risks of noise-induced hearing loss and advocate towards governments for greater attention to this issue as part of their broader efforts to prevent hearing loss.



1.1 Billion People at Risk of Hearing Loss

'It's going to get worse': Nearly 30 percent of teens have hearing damage  By Linda Carroll

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One thought on “Smart Phones and Earbuds Cause Risk of Hearing Loss To Teenagers and Young Adults: WHO

  1. Otofonix

    My husband suffers from hearing loss and I am constantly reminding our teens about the use of ear buds and protecting their hearing. Thanks for some good info.


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