Loud music in earphones is making our young go deaf – says Central Middlesex’s top audiologist

Excessive use of earphones is making youngsters go deaf. Picture: London North West University Healt

Excessive use of earphones is making youngsters go deaf. Picture: London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

A top audiologist has warned that a generation of youngsters are going deaf because they listen to too much loud music through earphones.

Rosbin Syed, the lead paediatric audiologist at Central Middlesex Hospital, says the number of people under 30 in Brent permanently damaging their hearing has risen steadily in the last decade.

And she believes it’s because of the volume levels of music played by the younger generations through their phones and iPods.

Rosbin said: “Loud music piped directly into your ears is the same decibel level as a jumbo jet taking off so it’s not hard to imagine what prolonged exposure to that sort of noise is going to do.

“The sort of hearing loss we are treating today would have largely seen in the over 50s ten or twenty years ago. It’s not just an issue in Brent, it’s a global issue.

“It’s tragic really because by the time people come and see us the damage has already been done and we can only offer advice on how to prevent further hearing loss.”

Rosbin said there is a lot of work being done on hearing health and how to decrease the damage done by headphones. She believes warnings should be printed on all packaging, but also urged people to make sure they buy quality products.

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“With some of the cheaper ones you have to really crank it up,” she said. “And that distorts the sound, so people think they can’t hear it properly and turn it up louder. But it’s just distorted.

“There has to be some sort of regulation brought in to make sure all headphones are up to an acceptable standard.”

One of the most common problems is tinnitus, where those affected suffer a constant ringing sound in their ears.

The condition is common among musicians but advances in amplification is seeing everyday headphone wearers suffering exposure to the same excessive noise levels

Research shows that more than half – 53.4 per cent – of people aged 18 to 24 have experienced tinnitus, with 40pc of people unaware that being exposed to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus.

In nightclubs or concerts, noise levels can exceed 100dB, meaning you can only safely listen to music for 15 minutes without wearing ear plugs to reduce the sound by 15-20dB, thus taking it under 85dB level.