Make listening safe

How teens and young adults can prevent hearing loss...

3 March is International Ear Care Day. The day has been marked since 2007, and the date (3.3) was chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) to symbolise two ears. Every year features a different theme. The focus this year is ‘make listening safe’.

This is what the WHO has to say about it:

Under the theme ‘Make Listening Safe’, WHO draws attention to the rising problem of recreational noise-induced hearing loss.

Millions of teenagers and young adults are at risk of developing hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices such as smartphones and MP3 players and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues including nightclubs, discotheques, bars, pubs and sporting events. The emerging pattern of listening regularly at high volume and for a long duration poses a serious threat to one’s hearing.

Hearing is a precious faculty, which impacts educational, professional and social development. This year’s theme encourages individuals, parents, teachers, physicians, managers, manufacturers and governments to ‘Make Listening Safe’, and reminds all of us that once hearing is lost, it won’t come back!

Tips to prevent hearing loss at a young age

  • Don’t listen to loud music on your smartphone or MP3 player (it’s too loud if you can’t hear people talking nearby or traffic noise).
  • Wear earplugs in noisy places like nightclubs and rock concerts.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in those places – take regular breaks to give your hearing a rest.
  • Wear earplugs when using noisy machinery like a lawnmower or leaf blower.
  • Avoid sudden, intense loud noises like gunshots.
  • Download a smartphone app to check and limit your exposure to loud noise.

The dangers of loud music