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WHO predicts global increase in hearing loss among young people: Challenges and acoustic solutions

WHO predicts global increase in hearing loss among young people: Challenges and acoustic solutions

Hearing loss in young people aged 12-35 is a growing problem worldwide. Smartphones and headphones have taken over children's lives, but regulations limiting sound levels are not in place. WHO predicts a global increase in hearing loss among young people.

In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of children with some level of hearing impairment (including mild and unilateral hearing loss) will increase worldwide. This is attributed to greater exposure to harmful levels of sound, particularly through technological devices.

The use of devices by children is no longer just for fun

Mobile devices have a wide range of functions in children's lives, and the global pandemic is also to blame. They are no longer just for fun. For example, children use them to stay in touch with family and friends. They are also used for more serious functions, including homework help or online tutoring.

The benefits of pursuing hobbies and interests, expressing yourself, developing relationships, and learning social and emotional skills seem to outweigh the negative aspects. Frequent use of devices without volume control causes hearing damage.

Poor acoustic conditions increase the possibility of hearing loss

Nowadays, it is even more important that sound environments are optimized for children with typical hearing as well as for children with hearing loss. Children with hearing loss do not cope well with understanding and communication when there are unwanted sounds in the environment. The result is a significant impact on the overall academic performance of children.

2021 WHO "World Report on Hearing" states that: " Good acoustics are critical to the learning of young children, who have a less developed phonological knowledge of the world than adults and are therefore less able to reconstruct degraded speech information." Inadequate acoustics present an even greater challenge for children with hearing loss or learning difficulties.

Prevention is better than cure

The WHO has created a standard for safe listening devices and systems that aims to reduce the risk of hearing loss. This standard will require the device to include software that will record sound exposure and also inform the user of hazardous levels h. For children, 75 dB is recommended for a maximum of 40 hours per week. Provide your children with a volume-limiting app with the option of a "parental volume control" mode that is password protected.

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