the damage of too loud and compressed sound


You don’t have to be a scientist to know that listening to loud music is bad for your health. 670 million to 1.35 billion teens and young adults potentially at risk of hearing loss due to use of headphones and frequenting loud music venues, finds a meta-analysis published Tuesday, November 15 in the journal BMJ Global Health.

A team of researchers compiled 33 studies, bringing together more than 19,000 participants aged 12 to 34 and analyzing how they listen to music with headphones and in concert halls, nightclubs, bars, etc. It appears that teenagers and young adults who use earphones or headphones often choose a volume around 105 decibels (dB) and that average sound levels in entertainment venues are between 104 and 112 decibels. These levels exceed those recommended by the authorities.

“These results show that unsafe listening practices are widespread among adolescents and young adults”, say the researchers. They sound the alarm:

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

Hearing loss: one in four people in 2050

The phenomenon is not new. “Millions of adolescents and young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices and exposure to harmful sound levels in places such as nightclubs, bars, concerts and sporting events »had indeed challenged Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, director of the non-communicable diseases department at the World Health Organization (WHO), in March 2022, on World Hearing Day. A new standard was introduced on this occasion, 100 decibels. About 1.5 billion people in the world are affected by a hearing loss, they will be 2.5 billion in 2050, one person in four, according to WHO projections.

Adverse effects of noise exposure on hearing and non-hearing health have been described. It is one of the main causes of hearing problems, according to Inserm. High sound levels irreversibly destroy hair cells (which are part of the auditory system) and damage auditory nerve fibers. Exposure to loud sounds can also cause tinnitus.

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