Loud music puts young people at risk of hearing damage

Over 60 per cent of today’s youth are in danger of causing permanent damage to their hearing as a result of listening to music at too loud a volume.

This warning comes from hearing support organisation DeafHear, who have begun visiting schools to test the sound levels used by young people on their musical devices.

A new ‘sound head’ they have developed allows them to measure the decibel levels people are listening to music at and advise on whether this is a safe level.

Brendan Lennon of DeafHear says that the early test results are very worrying with 60 per cent listening at an unsafe level.

“You can listen safely every day for up to 2 hours at 91dB,” Lennon explained, adding that after this time and volume, “you are at the threshold of damaging your hearing”.

The volume of 90dB is about as loud as a lawnmower.

A quarter of the young people tested so far, however, have been listening at a level of 100dB or higher. Exposure to levels of over 100dB for more than 15 minutes will cause permanent and irreparable hearing damage, Lennon explained.

For students going to nightclubs or concerts, Lennon advises that where you stand in the nightclub is of the utmost importance. Studies carried out by the organisation highlight that music is blasted out at over 100 dB in these venues. “The closer you stand [to speakers, etc], the greater the damage.”

While young people may not feel listening to loud music has any effect on them now, the spokesman warns that “the outcomes may not be apparent for 10, 20 even 30 years…people in their 30’s are having hearing loss that people in their 50’s used to have and that age will come down if it carries on”.

DeafHear’s advice is to turn it down. Or if you can’t, then wear ‘over-ear’ headphones which are four times less likely to cause hearing damage than ‘in-ear’ earphone buds.

Garrett Lavin

Image Credit: Flickr Via Creative Commons

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