A quiet word about hearing loss

• Deafness Foundation students and staff Emily King, Izaac Coubrough, Karina Op den Dries, Kendra Buss, Cameron Goff, Sophie Ardagh and Karole Marshall ready to board the Leeuwin. Photo supplied

TURN down the volume on your headphones or risk permanent hearing loss, warns the Deafness Foundation.

While music may make a monotonous commute or nagging parents more bearable, continually exposing your ears to loud sounds may lead to irreparable damage.

Almost a year ago the World Health Organisation revealed that more than 1.1 billion young people were at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings.

The report outlined a bleak future where over 900 million people, 1 in every 10, could have disabling hearing loss by 2050.

Andrew Mackendrick, audiologist from Harmony Hearing and Audiology, says the volume on smartphones is not regulated in Australia.

“This is a concern because as soon as you start getting up to 100 decibels it can start to cause serious hearing damage within minutes,” he says.

“I think the future of hearing loss will be recreational. Noise-induced hearing loss is the world’s most preventable disease.

“No louder than 85 decibels and having regular breaks is a good rule of thumb to follow.

“Listen for an hour, then have a 15-minute break.”

However with just a few changes, headphone users can minimise their risk: Audiologists recommend that you don’t exceed 80 percent volume levels on a  device, and listen for no more than 90 minutes per day on headphones.

This Sunday (March 3), the Deafness Foundation will kick off Hearing Awareness Week, promoting ways to protect your ears from loud noise.

Recently the foundation sent four deaf students on the Perth-based tall ship the Leeuwin, where they got to try their hand at navigating and hoisting up sails.

The sail coincided with the annual Rottnest Channel Swim.

Hearing Awareness Week runs from March 3-9.


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