Warning: Different ways hearing can be damaged


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© Paula Gent - Fotolia

Fox News recently ran an article looking into the various ways in which hearing may be damaged in younger people, and the prevalence of “toxic” noise in the environment that puts everyone at risk.

Although the link with aging is well demonstrated in hearing loss, many younger people are also at risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 360 million people across the globe have disabling hearing loss, including 32 million children. Over 1 billion young people are estimated to have a high risk of damaging their hearing. Some of the causes are highlighted in the article.

First of all, the workplace. Long-term exposure to mildly elevated, yet hazardous noise is the main risk. The longer the exposure to high-frequency sounds, the more hearing can be impaired.

Second, unsurprisingly, is using personal audio devices or going to entertainment venues. Some of these exposures are known to reach levels of 100 dB or more, a level considered safe for only a few minutes. Listening should be limited to 60 minutes in total over the day.

The third risk is more difficult to control and involves medication that may damage hearing, known as ototoxic drugs. Since these include certain antibiotics and cancer treatments, the risk is not always avoidable.

Fourth on the list is smoking. Evidence had been accumulating for many years but researchers in the United Kingdom confirmed the suspected risk in 2014 after studying smoking history and hearing loss in over 150,000 adults.

The last risk cited in the article is traffic noise. Also difficult to avoid for most people. According to one study of noise levels in convertible cars, drivers may be exposing themselves to hazardous noise reaching between 82 and 92 dB.

Source: Fox News.