A new study revealed that more than one billion young people might face a future plagued with hearing loss due to unsafe listening habits. Turning the volume up while wearing headphones and earphones alongside attending high-decibel environments, like concerts, can jeopardize the hearing of 1.35 billion people aged 18 to 34.
The study, which was published in the BMJ Global Health journal, reviewed data from 33 research papers on hearing loss involving 20,000 participants over the past two decades.
University of South Carolina researchers estimated that one in four (24%) 12 to 34 year-olds use their listening devices at “unsafe” levels. Meanwhile, one in two people risk losing their hearing from exposure to loud entertainment venues.
This means that 48% of people in the same age group are exposed to excessive noise in high-decibel nightlife hubs, such as clubs, bars, and music venues.
Based on these percentages, experts estimate that the global number of teenagers and young adults potentially at risk of hearing loss ranges from 0.67 billion to 1.35 billion.
The hearing loss study concluded by describing the need to promote safe listening practices as “urgent.”
Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that over 430 million people of all ages worldwide currently have disabling hearing loss. Experts say that younger generations tend to have a soft spot for loud music at venues or blaring through headphones.