ISCVE WHO Make Listening Safe 600x300 Image 2021

Make Listening Safe – A project by the WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in conjunction with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through a multi-stakeholder collaboration involving experts from professional associations, civil society organisations and the private sector has published a global standard to make listening safe.

Through this campaign, WHO aims to raise awareness about safe listening practices especially among young people and highlight the need for safe listening to policy-makers, health professionals, parents and others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

Over 43 million people between the ages of 12–35 years live with disabling hearing loss due to different causes.

Among teenagers and young adults aged 12–35 years in middle- and high-income countries: ƒ

  • Nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices. ƒ
  • Around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging sound levels at clubs, discotheques and bars.

Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible.

Exposure to loud sounds for any length of time causes fatigue of the ear’s sensory cells. The result is temporary hearing loss or tinnitus (a ringing sensation in the ear).

A person enjoying a loud concert may come out experiencing ‘muffled’ hearing or tinnitus. The hearing improves as the sensory cells recover.

When the exposure is particularly loud, regular or prolonged, it can cause permanent damage of the sensory cells and other structures, resulting in irreversible hearing loss.

How to make listening safe

There are many actions which can be taken to make listening safe for all. These include measures put in place by individual users, as well as parents, teachers, managers, manufacturers and governments.

Steps can include;

  • Keep the volume down
  • Limit time spent engaged in noisy activities
  • Monitor safe listening levels
  • Heed the warning signs of hearing loss
  • Get regular hearing check-ups

The standard includes suggested further steps that can be taken by parents, teachers, physicians, governments and manufacturers to help resolve the situation.

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