Blaring out tunes and exposing the ears to noisy household devices could induce permanent hearing damage in a matter of minutes, an expert has warned.
Billions of young people could be at risk of permanently damaging their ears, with experts blaming loud music in headphones and exposure to common household appliances as potential causes.
Doctor of Audiology, Amy Sarow, warned that the volume levels of machinery like blenders and lawnmowers can reach perilous levels, posing a risk of immediate hearing loss.
As for music, the expert explained that managing volume levels is “key” to preventing long-term damage to the auditory system.
One of the risks of exposing the ears to sounds over 80 decibels, according to the doctor, is long-term damage to cells inside the ear.
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The Audio Science review estimated in 2020 that 44.0 percent of users frequently expose their ears to music between 70 and 80 decibels. In comparison, the noise levels of a normal conversation tend to average around 60 decibels.
Sarow told Newsweek: “When there’s loud background noise, it can be tempting to turn the volume up to hear over the volume of the noise.
“Unfortunately, hearing damage at this volume can occur in less than 15 minutes.”
The expert added: “While there are differing opinions on safe listening levels, keeping volume levels at or below 80 decibels is safe for daily listening throughout the day.
“However, we need to limit the time when exposure exceeds 80 decibels in order to prevent hearing loss.”
As sound is measured logarithmically, it should be noted that every increase of three decibels doubles the sound intensity, which cuts the maximum exposure time in half before damage occurs.
“I would recommend limiting 80 decibels to no more than eight hours per day to prevent noise damage,” the expert advises. “Some examples of 80 decibels include blenders, garbage disposals, lawnmowers, and heavy traffic.”
The advice is in line with recommendations from the medical institution John Hopkins Medicine, which warns on its website that “permanent hearing loss” can occur through exposure to noise from jackhammers, chainsaws, and radio-controlled airplanes.
To protect against these everyday perils, the health body recommends the use of protection devices such as earbuds.
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