Listening to music on our choice of device – be it a mobile phone or an mp3  player, while commuting to work, back home, when bored, when sad – just about anytime may feature on our 'favourite activity' list. The Apple iPod has been preferred by millions as their music player of choice. However, a research by Edith Cowan University School of Psychology, and Social Science researcher Paul Chang focusing on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) also highlighted how prolonged exposure to loud music could impact the hearing of young people. To better put his research into perspective, Professor Chang conducted a survey on three groups of people, belonging to different age brackets “to get an understanding of how often they are exposed to loud noises, and whether they understand the consequences.

Listening to loud music could impact your hearing (Image credit: Getty Images)

Listening to loud music could impact your hearing (Image credit: Getty Images)

Key findings from the research include:

  • 50.6 percent of 12 – 17 year-olds listen to music with personal, in ear headphones;
  • 87.2 percent of people aged 18 – 25 reported sometimes – always coming home from a concert with ringing ears; and
  • 68.3 percent of teenagers reported that they do not wear any form of hearing protection.

In the research, the following behavioural patterns were observed – 

  • 47.9 percent  of 12- to 17-year-olds reported that ‘sometimes to always’ they have noticed ringing in their ears after being at a club, concert, or music festival; 
  • of the 18- to 25-year-olds, who, presumably attend music entertainment venues more often, 87.2 percent  reported that ‘sometimes to always’ they have come home and noticed their ears were ringing;
  • 46  percent  of parents worry or complain to their children about their listening to loud music;
  • Parents or guardians are reported as being the group of people who most often warn young people of the dangers of listening to music at high volumes, for 12- to 17-year-olds (61.7 percent ) and 18- to 25-yearolds (72.3 percent );
  • 36.1 percent  of the teenagers and 44.6 percent  of young adults listened to their iPod or MP3 player at between 50 percent  to 75 percent of the maximum volume;
  • Nearly half of teenagers/young adults spend a large amount of time involved in activities related to loud music (44.6 percent );
  • The majority of young people in the study have been warned that listening to music at really high volumes can be dangerous to their hearing (89.6 percent );
  • Most young people believe that noise-induced hearing loss is an important issue for young people (65 percent );
  • 70.3 percent  of young people reported that they do not wear any form of hearing protection at music events.

To effectively deal with such situations, the researchers have put down a set of recommendations and these include –

  • Early Intervention and Prevention
  • Ongoing Communication Strategies
  • Use of Auditory Simulations of Hearing Loss and Tinnitus in Conjunction with Education
  • Education Materials Need to be Integrated into School Curricula
  • Involving Parents in Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Education

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