Cut mu­sic to ‘hour a day’ - WHO

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LON­DON — Peo­ple should lis­ten to mu­sic for no more than one hour a day to pro­tect their hear­ing, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion sug­gests.

It says 1.1 bil­lion teenagers and young adults are at risk of per­ma­nently dam­ag­ing their hear­ing by lis­ten­ing to “too much, too loudly”.

It said au­dio play­ers, con­certs and bars were pos­ing a “se­ri­ous threat”.

WHO fig­ures show 43 mil­lion peo­ple aged 12-35 have hear­ing loss and the preva­lence is in­creas­ing.

In that age group, the WHO said, half of peo­ple in rich and mid­dlein­come coun­tries were ex­posed to un­safe sound lev­els from per­sonal au­dio de­vices.

Mean­while 40 per­cent were ex­posed to dam­ag­ing lev­els of sound from clubs and bars.

The pro­por­tion of US teenagers with hear­ing loss went from 3.5 per­cent in 1994 to 5.3 per­cent in 2006.

WHO v The Who Dr Eti­enne Krug, the WHO’S direc­tor for in­jury pre­ven­tion, told the BBC: “What we’re try­ing to do is raise aware­ness of an is­sue that is not talked about enough, but has the po­ten­tial to do a lot of dam­age that can be eas­ily pre­vented.”

The full re­port ar­gued: “While it is im­por­tant to keep the vol­ume down, lim­it­ing the use of per­sonal au­dio de­vices to less than one hour a day would do much to re­duce noise ex­po­sure.”

Dr Krug said that a good am­bi­tion aim: “That’s a rough rec­om­men­da­tion, it is not by the minute, to give an idea to those spend­ing 10 hours a day lis­ten­ing to an mp3-player.

“But even an hour can be too much if the vol­ume is too loud.”the louder the noise (mea­sured in deci­bels), the faster it dam­ages the ear.

The WHO’S safe lis­ten­ing times are:

85 db - the level of noise in­side a car - eight hours

90 db - lawn mower - two hours 30 min­utes

95 db — an av­er­age mo­tor­cy­cle - 47 min­utes

100 db — car horn or un­der­ground train — 15 min­utes

105 db — mp3 player at max­i­mum vol­ume — four min­utes

115 db — loud rock con­cert - 28 sec­onds

120 db — vu­vuzela or sirens –– nine sec­onds

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­mends keep­ing the vol­ume to 60 per­cent of the max­i­mum as a good rule of thumb.

For peo­ple try­ing to drown out the noise of fly­ing or train jour­neys, it says noise-can­celling head­phones al­low mu­sic to be heard clearly at a lower vol­ume.

And the WHO adds that ear plugs should be worn at noisy venues and ad­vises tak­ing “lis­ten­ing breaks” and stand­ing far away from speak­ers at gigs.

ut what is the point of a con­cert if you are go­ing to avoid the mu­sic?

“We do re­alise this is a bit of a strug­gle, like al­co­hol con­sump­tion, so many risk fac­tors linked to plea­sure are not easy to change, but we have to make peo­ple aware,” Dr Krug said.

But as well as call­ing for per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity, the WHO says gov­ern­ments and man­u­fac­tur­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity.

It says clubs should pro­vide chill­out rooms and give out free ear plugs, head­phone man­u­fac­tur­ers should set lim­its on the vol­ume, and gov­ern­ments need to adopt stricter laws.

Paul Breck­ell, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the char­ity Ac­tion on Hear­ing Loss, said: ‘ When lis­ten­ing to loud mu­sic, for ev­ery three deci­bel in­crease in level, to stay safe you should halve your lis­ten­ing time.

“For ex­am­ple, at 88 db, safe al­low­able ex­po­sure is cut to four hours, at 91 db, two hours and so on.

“I urge mu­sic lovers to con­sider the long term risks of lis­ten­ing to loud mu­sic from their per­sonal mu­sic play­ers over the 85db safe level, as over ex­po­sure can trig­ger tin­ni­tus, and re­mem­ber that a good pair of noise can­celling head­phones can make all the dif­fer­ence.” –– BBC.

The Who’s safe lis­ten­ing times for vu­vuzela is nine sec­onds.

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