A recent study from BMJ Global Health says as many as 1.35 billion young people ages 12-34 across the globe are engaging in listening practices that could make them susceptible to hearing loss.
“It’s not a new problem, but we just have a lot more that we’re exposed to these days,” said Tracy Winn, a licensed clinical audiologist at Northwestern University's Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning.
Unsafe listening practices can include listening to music with earphones on a high volume for a prolonged period of time. It can also include attending loud events, like concerts or sporting events, without protecting your ears.
“If these venues are not going to turn it down – and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to – it’s going to be up to the individual to protect themselves,” Winn said.
Decibel levels, which are used to measure sound, and length of time are two factors at play when it comes to determining safe listening levels.
Winn says the basic rule of thumb is nothing more than 85 dB, which people can measure on certain apps on their phones.
A way to protect one’s ears at events is by wearing earplugs, which can be effective when used properly, Winn said.