The West Australian : 2019-06-12

NEWS : 7 : 7

NEWS

NEWS 7 Wednesday, June 12, 2019 TURN IT DOWN! How video games are ruining child hearing JOANNA DELALANDE said. “Personal listening devices are more accessible to children at younger ages.” Ms Kania said many parents and teachers seemed unaware how sensitive children’s hearing was and were allowing them to listen to loud music and movies via earbuds for hours on end. Maximum decibels on personal hearing devices often reached 110 decibels — about the same level as a chainsaw. The maximum safe sound level for music through earbuds was 85 decibels, Ms Kania said. She recommende­d young people take a break every 20 minutes to let their ears adjust back to a normal environmen­t. She said modern testing had made it possible to pinpoint damage caused by loud noise because it affected hearing at higher frequencie­s. Ms Kania said though the damage was often temporary if the noisy cause of the problem was removed, prolonged exposure could cause permanent damage. Ear Science Institute Australia founder Marcus Atlas said when he started working in the field, industrial exposure was the biggest noise problem. “Now we have a new group at risk — our kids,” Professor Atlas said. “Eventually, these children will end up with more hearing loss than they would have had they not had so much noise exposure as a kid.” Children as young as four are increasing­ly at risk of hearing loss because of loud music played through headphones and earbuds, experts warn. Ear Science Institute Australia has revealed an increasing number of children and teenagers are experienci­ng temporary and sometimes permanent noise-induced hearing loss. Among them is 11-year-old Michal Durech, who suffered damage in his right ear from playing his Xbox games too loudly and listening to music in earphones. His mother, Alena Durech, said they first realised something was wrong after Michal complained of dizziness and trouble hearing at school. His hearing recovered after a few months of making sure to turn down the volume on his games and music. Lions Hearing Clinic audiologis­t Anna Kania blamed the trend on the growing use of personal music devices and portable DVD players in cars. “I would say the world is becoming a noisier place,” she

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