The World Health Organization (WHO) has released information about studies conducted with children and adolescents that have some troubling implications. The studies that WHO analyzed included people 12-35 years old living in middle and high-income countries. Nearly half of those people studied were exposed to unsafe sound levels due to personal sound devices (e.g. iPods) and around 40% were exposed to unsafe levels of sound at event and entertainment venues.

Hearing loss is a serious issue because once a person loses his or her hearing, it can’t be regained. Hearing loss has the potential to make a person’s live very challenging and can lead to depression, educational and employment issues, among other things.

Safe listening depends on both the intensity and the duration of the sound being listened to. Sometimes exposure to loud sounds can lead to temporary hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). When the sound exposure is particularly loud or long, it can lead to permanent damage in the ears.

To raise awareness and educate young people about the risks of loud and prolonged sound exposure, March 3rd, for International Ear Care Day, WHO will launch a “make listening safe” campaign.

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