Are your listening habits putting your hearing at risk?
Submitted by Christine Lyon, Communications Specialist, Providence Health Care Research Institute
Here’s some news that won’t be music to the ears of all those who plug into their iPods on a daily basis. According to the World Health Organization, nearly half of people aged 12-35 (that’s 1.1 billion young people) are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through their personal audio devices.
To mitigate that risk, the WHO and the International Telecommunication Union are calling on governments and manufacturers to adopt a new international standard to make personal audio devices safer. Among their recommendations are volume-limiting settings and software to track the user’s sound exposure.
Given the alarming stats, how concerned should music-lovers be about enjoying their playlists while riding the SkyTrain or running on the treadmill? Registered audiologist Grace Cheung weighs in on the issue and offers some advice.
“Headphone and earphone listening can be problematic because the music is delivered directly in the ear canal,” says Cheung, who works with the BC Adult Cochlear Implant Program at St. Paul’s Hospital. “Listening to music is also a personal experience and so some people may, through habit, prefer to listen to music at a much louder level than they need to.”
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