Research Highlights Growing Problem
A lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has called on youngsters to be more aware of the dangers of listening to music at high volumes, following research carried out in the US.
According to the New York Times, the number of teenagers with hearing loss — from slight to severe — in the country has jumped 33 per cent since 1994. Many researchers attribute this widespread problem to exposure to sound played loudly and regularly through headphones or earbuds.
Earbuds do not tend to cancel out as much noise from outside as headphones that rest on or around the ear, so users typically listen at higher volume to drown out interference.
A 2008 European study of people who habitually use mp3 players found headphone users who listen to music at high volumes for more than an hour a day risk permanent hearing loss after five years.
Prolonged exposure to noise levels of 85dB can cause permanent damage to hearing. As a guide, noise levels are around 85dB if you have to raise your voice to communicate with someone standing four feet away. If you have to use a very loud voice then it is likely noise levels exceed 9dB.
Louise Scott, a solicitor from Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office has warned people to look after their hearing and avoid listening to personal music players at loud volumes for extended periods of time.
She said: “I meet many people who have worked in excessive noise and the impact of hearing loss and associated conditions such as tinnitus can have a huge impact on quality of life.
“If you have been exposed to excessive levels of noise by others – for example your employer and have suffered damage to your hearing, you may be entitled to make a hearing loss claim.”