Many under-30s have the hearing of a 50-year-old!

(Last Updated On: June 2, 2018)

SMARTPHONES and earphones are responsible for increasing deafness and hearing loss among our young population, a top audiologist has warned.

Over the past decade, the number of people under 30 with permanent hearing damage has been on the rise across the country because youngsters are blasting their music through earphones and headphones.

There are currently 11 million Brits with hearing loss according to Action on Hearing Loss, a UK charity dedicated to helping people who suffer from deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss. The charity estimates there will be 15.6 million by 2035 — an increase of over 40 per cent.

Printing warning labels on packaging for audio products and urging people only to buy quality goods might be a solution to decrease the damage caused by headphones, some say. With some of the cheaper ones you have to really crank it up, distorting the sound.

Exposure to loud noises is a common cause of tinnitus and research shows more than half of people aged 18 to 24 reported experiencing the constant buzzing and ringing in their ears and one in ten adults UK wide.

Yet a worrying 40 per cent of people are still unaware that listening to loud music can lead to permanent tinnitus.

Suffering tinnitus myself –  extra loud gigs as a youngster, ear-blasting headphones, and even, at one stage, a friend’s wing chair with speakers in the wings  –  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. (Well, with one or two exceptions…)

Another risk is noise levels in nightclubs which can exceed 100dB.In such conditions, music can only be listened to safely for 15 minutes.

‘If you’re going to a gig, take some earplugs,’ is the advice from Health Policy Manager Ayla Ozme. ‘Modern ones are quite comfortable and don’t ruin the listening experience as some people think. Noise cancelling headphones are also really good for listening to music on personal music players when background noise is high, like on buses and trains. It’s best to take these simple steps to protect your hearing, as the effects of noise damage can be irreversible.’

To find out more, visit:

Bob Jope: Healthwatch Torbay

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!