Headphones, nightclubs and sports matches could lead to more than one billion young people lose their hearing, the World Health Organisation says.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that even 15 minutes of exposure to unsafe sound levels, or the extended unsafe use of devices such as smart phones and audio players, could put people at risk of hearing loss.
Using data issued to mark International Ear Care Day on March 3, WHO stated that almost 50 per cent of people aged 12- to 35-years-old listened to dangerous levels of noise through personal devices such as iPods.
Forty per cent also reported listening to “potentially damaging levels of sound” at venues such as nightclubs and sporting matches.
WHO listed unsafe levels of noise as 15 minutes of exposure to in excess of 100 decibels, levels similar to a chainsaw or a “noisy disco”, according to Australia’s National Acoustic Laboratories.
Eight hours of exposure to in excess of 85 decibels – similar to a busy road or ride on mower – was also reportedly damaging.
WHO has called on governments to address the increase of hearing loss – now affecting 360 million people worldwide – by developing and enforcing strict legislation on recreational noise levels.
It also recommended young people limit their listening to audio devices to an hour a day.