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Loud music is putting teens and young adults at risk for hearing loss

Photo: Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStockphoto

Ready to crank your favorite music for a workout or the ride home, or to unwind after a long day?

Not so blast.

Findings from a recent research review show that, worldwide, between 670 million and 1.4 billion people 12 to 34 years old may be at risk of hearing loss from loud music. The researchers drew their conclusions after looking at 33 studies related to personal listening devices and/or music venues in 20 countries.

Common unsafe listening behaviors include listening at high volumes for extended periods or listening to music at concerts, festivals, bars or other loud venues without using proper hearing protection.

Citing previous research as well as World Health Organization recommendations, a press release from the BMJ Publishing Group notes that users of personal listening devices often listen at volumes as high as 105 decibels. That’s higher than the recommended exposure levels of 80 dB for adults and 75 dB for children. Meanwhile, the average sound level at entertainment venues ranges from 104 to 112 dB.


“There is an urgent need for governments, industry and civil society to prioritize global hearing loss prevention by promoting safe listening practices,” the researchers write.

The study was published online in the journal BMJ Global Health.

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