According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly half of young people aged 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to excessive exposure to high noise levels. Wearing headphones and headphones is becoming more and more common, so tips for reasoned listening are needed.
Less and less noise and conversations in public transport or waiting rooms and yet… All around us, music and noise are everywhere, individual headphones and headphones are invading our ears.
Their development is accompanied by a number of problems, both in terms of hearing health and safety. An update on the dangers of headphones and headphones and the attitudes to protect yourself from them.
Youth, more affected but less protected
Exposure of young adults to loud music is “ubiquitous”, according to the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES). Wearing headphones or headphones has become harmless for young people from the age of 12. This action must, however, require increased vigilance. “More than a billion young people are at risk of losing their hearing simply by doing what they really love, namely listening to music regularly with their headphones,” said Dr. Shelly Chadha, Technical Officer in the Division of Hearing Loss and Deafness Prevention at the World Health Organization (WHO).
When sound passes directly into the ear canal by isolating the person from outside noise, limiting its intensity is essential so as not to impair the person’s overall listening ability. The sound volume of the medium used must be adjusted to half of the total capacity in general conditions, to avoid exceeding the maximum sound threshold. To avoid auditory isolation, also use earphones instead of in-ear earphones that confine sound.
“By listening to music too loud, you end up hearing it halfway! »
This slogan used by the INPES sums up the risks of unreasonable listening to music quite well. When a high volume is associated with a long duration, the risk of deafness is increased tenfold.
Indeed, listening to music at 80 decibels for several hours a day is more harmful than going to a 100 decibel concert for only one hour! As a reminder, the ear hazard threshold is 85 decibels (the sound of a lawn mower) over a short period of time. However, broadcasting devices such as smartphones or mp3 players can often reach up to 100 decibels.
The longer the listening time, the greater the risk to hearing and the more irreversible it may be. The most common dangers are tinnitus (tinnitus sensations, uninterrupted whistling), hyperacusis (total intolerance to noise) and in the worst cases, partial or total deafness. Adopting the right attitudes helps to protect your ears from these threats. Attention also needs to be paid to the risks of amplified music in festivals, discos or concert halls.
An increased risk of road accidents
We tend to forget it, but ears are not just for listening to music! Hearing is a fundamental function for human beings, enabling them to ensure their safety by being alert to external situations. As the ears send information to the brain, concentration is reduced when wearing headphones or headphones, thus increasing road accidents. Pedestrians and motorists, therefore limit the sound of devices and remain vigilant! The melody, however sweet and pleasant it may be, is not worth a human life.
The 10 right actions to adopt for a reasoned listening
- Limit the volume of the audio support to half of the maximum capacity
- Do not isolate yourself from outside noise, which is essential for everyone’s safety
- Choose headphones over in-ear headphones
- Take regular breaks to allow the ears to rest
- Do not wear your helmet more than ten hours a day
- Avoid wearing headphones or headphones on the road
- Use the headphones and headphones provided with the sound emitting device to maintain the balance level
- Adjust the volume level of your headphones or earphones in a quiet place
- Avoid as much as possible the use of headphones or headphones to fall asleep, as the brain and ears need calm and rest.
- Limit the use of headphones or headphones to children, as their ears are still developingScientific guarantee: Jean-Benoît Proriol – audioprosthetist in Le Puy en Velay and member of the Audition Solidarité association specialized in the prevention of risks and dangers related to hearing.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly one billion of the population aged 12 to 35 could suffer irreversible hearing losses by 2050. The loudness of smartphones and mp3 players is particularly questioned. The WHO therefore calls for automatic adaptation and limitation of the maximum volumes of these devices by manufacturers.