the scientific response to the risks of deafness


In 2022, living without headphones is almost impossible for many young people. However, when headphones, as well as headphones, are misused, they can cause hearing loss.

We can never tell you enough. And just in case you were still in doubt about the consequences of prolonged use of headphones, at very high volume, a new study has just confirmed this.

In a recently published article, Fortune magazine relays this new study, published on BMJ Global Health. In recent years, a lot of research on the consequences of headphones and concerts, discos, etc. on health have been carried out.

And precisely, the one that has just been released synthesizes all this, studies carried out over the past 20 years. Thirty-three studies (corresponding to data from 35 recordings and 19,046 individuals) were analyzed, allowing the researchers to draw new conclusions about the risks of hearing loss for adolescents and young adults, aged 12 at 34 years old.

The main objective was to assess the number of young people at risk of hearing loss due to headphones and earphones, or due to entertainment venues where they are exposed to high sound volumes. And the findings of this research are frightening.

In fact, according to the scientific publication, more than one billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss.

Long-term and irreversible consequences

“This overexposure that many people are clearly indulging in can have adverse effects on their health”warns Lauren Dillard, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina and one of the authors of the study.

Quoted by Fortune magazine, Dillard talks about the consequences of exposure to a dangerous volume of sound. According to her, this can lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or temporary hearing loss.

But there are also long-term consequences, as these exposures can damage sensory cells. “It’s pretty incremental and progressive, so it’s not necessarily easy to recognize right away,” explains Lauren Dillard. “You could be at risk of long-term permanent damage.”

Headphones or concerts: which is more dangerous for the ears?

Of the 35 data records used in this study, 17 focus on the consequences of headphones, headsets, etc. And 18 concerned places of entertainment.

Thanks to this separation, we have the prevalence rates for each type of exposure. According to the data used by these researchers, the prevalence of hazardous listening practices (headphones, headphones, etc.) was around 24%, while this rate was 50% for noisy entertainment venues.

How to protect yourself?

Currently, if you’re listening to music on a smartphone, Android and iOS already have features that alert you when you’ve been exposed to loud sound for a long time. For starters, you could stop raising the volume when your smartphone lowers it automatically.

You can also respect the official recommendations. For example, with regard to concerts, discotheques and others, the Ministry of Solidarity and Health recommends wearing noise protection, or even moving away from speakers, and taking breaks.

For headphones and earphones, it advises against listening for more than an hour a day, at half volume. And in transport, avoid masking ambient noise with music.

Otherwise, it should be noted that the study recently published by Lauren Dillard and her colleagues echoes the warnings of the WHO on this subject. According to it, “2.5 billion people worldwide, or one in four people, will suffer from hearing loss in varying degrees by 2050.”

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