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One billion youth face risk of hearing loss, warns United Nations

February 18, 2019

Ahead of World Hearing Day on 3 March, comes this warning from the United Nations (UN).

A recent study by the UN points to the enormous risk of hearing loss that youth face due to exposure to loud sounds. The study also warns that hearing loss caused from such loud noises is irreversible, leading to permanent damage of the ears.

One of the most common types of noise-induced hearing loss is tinnitus, where the person feels a ringing sound inside the ear for a long time. Experts in India say that the warning is timely and should be paid heed to.

I come across many youngsters everyday who have noise-induced hearing problems and it is quite a common thing now. Hearing loss happens when you are exposed to high frequency noises. It need not just be from your headphones. People who work in factories, airports and other places with loud noises around are exposed to this problem. When you wear a fully covered headphone, chances of hearing loss are higher as the frequency gets higher. - Dr Sabari Nath, ENT Specialist

Experts also say that it takes almost 10 years to even realize that your hearing has been affected. By then it is too late to do something about it. They say the best approach is to avoid exposure to loud noises as much as possible.

Reports say that people are most affected are in the age group of 12 to 35 years. Some ways to address the problem are strict parental guidance among teenagers who use headphones on a regular basis. For adults, there must be an option in their device that automatically reduces the volume to safe levels.

Most cases of such noise-induced hearing loss are being reported from the developing and poor countries, where forget the public, even the government is not aware of the hazard. There needs to be awareness created about safe decibel levels for the problem to be addressed.

However, awareness is growing among some youth about the dangers. Chennai-based Arvind Kumar is exposed to loud noises on a daily basis and takes care to protect his ears.

"Exposure to loud noises can be quite disturbing for your ears and your head. Now, I am used to it. But that does not mean that I am not at a risk so I wear protective gears when exposed to loud noises", says Kumar.

A massive awareness campaign citing data is necessary to ensure more people are made conscious.

ALSO READ: 21 disabilities under RPWD 2016 - Hearing Impairment - Deaf and hard of hearing

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