Hearing is a precious sense that often goes unnoticed until it begins to fade. Avoidable hearing loss is a rapidly growing global problem, and the "Make Listening Safe Campaign UK" is taking the lead in addressing this issue. Launched on November 1, 2023, the campaign is set to roll out worldwide to other members of the World Health Organization in 2024. Their slogan is "Love Sound, Listen with Care."
To learn more about the Make Listening Safe Campaign UK and join the cause, visit: https://www.makelisteningsafecampaign.com
The campaign highlights that people who play video games for prolonged periods of time with the volume of speakers or headphones turned up high are at risk of hearing loss and tinnitus a result of exposure to potentially hazardous levels of sound. You can find out more about this in a BBC article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-68004968.
You can read the article here https://bmjpublichealth.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000253
In October 2023 a separate campaign, "Listen for Life", led by the UK's Night Time Industries Association was officially launched at the House of Commons. The aim of the campaign is to reduce hearing loss by 50% across UK music venues, thereby tackling both hearing loss and associated tinnitus. You can find out more about this campaign here: https://ntia.co.uk/ntia-launches-listen-for-life-campaign-at-the-house-of-commons-in-partnership-with-specsavers-to-encourage-hearing-health-testing-and-tinnitus-prevention/
The overlooked risks
The campaign emphasises the significance of safeguarding hearing in activities involving prolonged headphone use, such as gaming and e-sports, areas that have often been overlooked. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the forecasted number of people at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing damage has been revised to a staggering 2.5 billion by 2050. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for global awareness and preventive measures.
For further insights, you can read the WHO's report here: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1113182#:~:text=Alerting%20that%20over%20one%20billion,rising%20threat%20of%20hearing%20loss
The known risks
While risks to hearing in noisy work environments and at concerts have received attention, it's crucial to address these issues comprehensively. Check out our blog post https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/post/hearing-protection-at-concerts-what-you-need-to-know for detailed information, advice on hearing protection, and a handy table of safe listening times.
Preventive steps for long-term hearing health
1. Protective measures in noisy environments:
Exposure to loud noises is a leading cause of hearing loss. Whether it's attending concerts, working in a noisy environment, or using power tools, consider wearing ear protection like earmuffs or earplugs. These simple devices can significantly reduce the impact of loud sounds on your ears. For further information please see my blog https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/post/hearing-protection-at-concerts-what-you-need-to-know
2. Volume control on personal devices:
In the age of personal gadgets, it's easy to crank up the volume on headphones or earbuds. Be mindful of the volume level and avoid prolonged exposure to loud music. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the volume at or below 60% of maximum capacity to protect your hearing.
The amount of time spent listening at high volumes is as important as the volume itself. For example, The World Health Organization says that adults can safely be exposed to 80 decibels (dB) for 40 hours a week (heavy car traffic noise is 80 to 85 dB). Above that level, however, the safe amount of exposure to noise drops rapidly. Adults should only listen to 85dB for four hours a week, and 90dB for one hour and 15 minutes a week. For children, the thresholds are even lower. You can more information and a table showing safe listening times here https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/post/hearing-protection-at-concerts-what-you-need-to-know
3. Take listening breaks:
If you find yourself in a noisy environment, give your ears a break. Step outside or find a quiet space to allow your ears to recover. Continuous exposure to loud sounds without breaks increases the risk of permanent damage.
4. Regular hearing check-ups:
Just as you visit the dentist or optometrist for regular check-ups, consider scheduling routine hearing check-ups. Early detection of any hearing issues allows for timely intervention and prevention of further damage.
5. Healthy lifestyle choices:
Certain lifestyle choices can impact your overall health, including your hearing. Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. A healthy lifestyle contributes to better blood circulation, which is vital for the health of your ears.
6. Limit use of cotton buds:
While it may be tempting to clean your ears with cotton buds, they can push wax deeper into the ear canal, leading to potential damage. Allow the ears to clean themselves naturally, and if there's a concern about excess wax, consult with a healthcare professional. You can get further information on our wax removal service here: https://www.mmhearing.co.uk/removal-of-earwax
7. Stay informed:
Knowledge is key to prevention. Stay informed about the potential risks to your hearing and take steps to minimize them. Awareness of the impact of various activities on your hearing can help you make informed choices.
Conclusion: invest in your hearing health
Taking care of your hearing doesn't require drastic lifestyle changes. Small, consistent efforts can go a long way in preventing hearing loss and maintaining the joy of hearing throughout your life. By adopting these simple measures, you're investing in the health and longevity of your ears, ensuring that you continue to experience life's vibrant sounds.
Join the Make Listening Safe Campaign UK and let's make a global impact in preserving the gift of hearing for generations to come. Together, we can turn up the volume on awareness and turn down the risks of hearing loss.