Youngsters in deafness warning

YOUNG people who listen to MP3 players too loudly are at risk of going deaf 30 years earlier than their parents, health bosses said today.The warning comes after a survey found that more than half (53pc) of 16 to 24-year-olds listen to their MP3 player for more than an hour a day, and almost 20pc for three hours a day.

YOUNG people who listen to MP3 players too loudly are at risk of going deaf 30 years earlier than their parents, health bosses said today.

The warning comes after a survey found that more than half (53pc) of 16 to 24-year-olds listen to their MP3 player for more than an hour a day, and almost 20pc for three hours a day.

The study also found that two thirds (68pc) did not realise their hearing can be damaged by loud MP3 music.

Grahame Hunt, head of hearing services at Ipswich Hospital, said they had not noticed an increase in young people attending their clinics yet, but urged people to be sensible.


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He said: “The advent of MP3 players means people can listen to music for longer periods of time and you can get quite loud levels of sound on the technology available.

“If you're sensible and take regular breaks and don't have the volume up too loudly then you should be fine but if you take your headphones off and you have a ringing in you ears or things sound slightly dull then you know you have had your music on loud enough to be doing some damage to your ears.”

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The national study, by Deafness Research UK and Specsavers Hearcare, found that more than a third of all people who experienced ringing in their ears after listening to loud music switched on their MP3 player every single day.

Vivienne Michael, chief executive of Deafness Research UK, said studies showed people were now going deaf in their 40s.

She recommended that people did not listen to their MP3 player for more than an hour a day, or at more than 60pc of the maximum volume.

She said: “Traditionally, people did not go deaf until they were in their 60s or older but studies now show that people are going deaf as early as their 40s.

“That's 20 to 30 years earlier - it's a whole generation earlier.'

Mr Hunt said that, while more cases were being diagnosed earlier on, this was probably due to increased awareness.

He said: “I think we are diagnosing more people with hearing loss earlier on in life than we used to but it's more to do with increased awareness. People are coming to us in the earlier stages of hearing loss.

“It used to be something that was just associated with older people but that isn't so much the case anymore.”

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