The answer is an astounding yes!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO); “some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones.” The press release went on further to state that, “Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.”
If that isn’t enough to make you change your habits, researchers at Harvard Medical School’s Eaton Peabody Laboratory discovered that a person unsafely using personal audio devices could lose up to 90 percent of their cochlear nerve fibers, causing severe damage to parts of their the inner ear.
This is a clear and serious warning by reputable medical sources and it should not be taken lightly. Studies also conducted by the WHO revealed that nearly 50 per cent of teens and adults between the ages of 12 to 35 are exposed to high levels of sound from personal devices—this number will only continue to grow as more affordable audio devices are made available.
Today we even see the practice of using earbuds to increase productivity within the office environment growing exponentially. Many use this as the means to block out the world while focusing on the task at hand. This practice, however, is not only dangerous, but it can lead to permanent hearing loss—all because the guy in the cubicle next to you is a distractingly heavy breather!
So what can be done to reduce the risk of permanent hearing loss?
Here are some recommendations made by the WHO:
- Keep the volume down on personal devices
- Use noise-cancelling earphones/headphones NOT earbuds
- Take listening breaks
- Restrict the use of personal audio devices to less than an hour
Yes, I know, earbuds are cool and classy but they also carry a grave health risk. So toss the earbuds out and get a nice pair headphones instead. The sound quality is better and you might be grateful for the fact that your hearing still works in a couple of decades time.
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