The future of hearing health

  • After age related hearing loss, noise induced hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss, and is a major contributing factor to other forms of hearing loss (Wong et al, 2013)
  • While the prevalence of people exposed to noise at work has decreased, the number of people exposed to high levels of noise at nightclubs, live-music gigs, or through a personal music player has trebled since the 1980s (Smith et al, 2000).
  • Approximately 5-10% of people using personal music players such as MP3 players or smartphones listen at high volumes for sustained periods of time, putting themselves at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (European Commission, 2009).
  • The European Committee for Electrical Standardisation in 2013 set a new standard for personal music players, including smartphones that must have a sound limit of 85dB (A). The user can choose to override this limit and increase the sound level up to 100dB (A). If so, the user must be warned about the risks of listening at high volumes for every 20 hours of listening time.