Half of the World’s Young People Can Potentially Lose Hearing: Study Shows

Lose Hearing - medsurfer.com

A study published in BMJ Global Health shows that as many as 1.35 billion young people worldwide could lose hearing due to “unsafe listening,” The unsafe listening refers to dangerous noise levels via smartphones and other personal listening devices.

photography of a woman listening to music
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The study found that as many as 1 in 4 people ages 12 to 34 are exposed to these dangerous noise levels, and nearly half of people those ages experience damaging noise levels at entertainment venues.

The authors in the study reviewed many studies related to exposure to unsafe listening practices in adolescents. This review is perhaps the first published article to estimate the prevalence of exposure to unsafe listening practices in adolescents and young adults and its global burden.

This review is needed to help us recognize the urgency of prioritizing hearing loss prevention programs and policies for institutions, businesses, and governments.

Published this month in BMJ Global Health, the researchers evaluated data combined from 33 studies of “unsafe listening” among people ages 12 to 34. Unsafe listening was defined in the study as exposure to greater than 80 decibels for at least 40 hours a week. (For context, city traffic is about 80 decibels, according to a list of sounds that can cause hearing loss from the CDC.)

Research has shown that both single instances and repeated exposure to high volumes can damage hearing, potentially permanently, and the effects can build up during a person’s lifetime. The study authors said that hearing loss is associated with poor academic performance, reduced economic mobility, and health problems.

It is encouraged to educate people on how to prevent hearing loss and for policymakers to take action. The CDC suggests turning down the volume or taking listening breaks, using hearing protection such as earplugs, and keeping children away from loud music or equipment at home, among other tips to protect them from hearing loss.


BMJ Global Health: “Prevalence and global estimates of unsafe listening practices in adolescents and young adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

CDC: “What Noises Cause Hearing Loss?” “How Do I Prevent Hearing Loss from Loud Noise?”


  • Ear Buds with a Volume limit
  • Sonovive. Hearing loss happens when hair cells lose the connection to the brain cells that are responsible for extracting the meaning out of the sounds we hear. By addressing this root cause of hearing loss, SonoVive empowers and strengthens the link between hair cells and brain cells.

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