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65% of Brits never protect hearing

Tuesday 13th March 2018
A significant number of people have admitted to failing to take steps to protect their hearing function at loud events, increasing their risk of deafness. Image: Halfpoint via iStock
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More than half (51 per cent) of people in the UK ignore the volume warnings when listening to audio via mobile devices, according to new research.

Hearing solutions provider Cochlear conducted a survey into Britons' listening habits to coincide with World Hearing Day earlier this month, compiling the results into its The State of Hearing report. 

It found that a significant proportion of the population are regularly putting their hearing function at risk by having music or other sound playing too loudly directly into their ears via headphones.

The research found that 18 to 24-year-olds in particular are increasing their risk of hearing loss, with over three-quarters (76 per cent) admitting to ignoring safe volume warnings.

Almost one-third (29 per cent) of those questioned said they did not pay attention to these safety warnings because they did not want to hamper their enjoyment of a song, programme or live event.

Overall, 65 per cent of respondents revealed they did not take precautions to protect their hearing in loud environments, with 38 per cent acknowledging that they regularly knowingly exposed themselves to dangerous sound levels.

As a result, there is a potential risk of an entire generation ending up hard of hearing or even completely deaf due to a failure to look after their hearing function properly during their younger years.

Stuart Thomas, general UK manager at Cochlear, emphasised the importance of people taking steps to protect their hearing as best as possible.

"Hearing loss can affect people's relationships, education and work, and mental health," he explained.

"We should also consider the future, because new challenges will arise as our world changes. We only need to look at the rising popularity of devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, and appliances like TVs and refrigerators that now have virtual assistants built into them, to see what challenges this could create."

Audiologists could potentially play a key role in this area, helping to ensure this technology works for the hearing impaired as well as the hearing population.

Written by James Puckle

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