Turn Down For This: Why 1 Billion Young People May Lose Their Hearing
Bass thumping, earbuds in, we're all exhausting our ears.
A recent report by the World Health Organization delivers frightening news: 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss as a result of long-term exposure to noise at unsafe volumes, whether the noise comes from a concert or earbuds at the gym.
According to WHO, the number of people using headphones to jam out skyrocketed by 75 percent between 1990 and 2005.
That's largely because of devices like iPods and smartphones, which have become an inextricable part of the daily grind.
Unfortunately, many of us have no idea what a safe volume actually sounds like.
WHO recommends keeping the volume to 85 decibels maximum, which is much lower than we're used to in a normal smartphone volume range of 75 dB to about 136 dB.
There are a few practical ways to protect your precious hearing, but you're not going to like them.
WHO advises wearing earplugs to loud bars and concerts and stepping outside regularly to give your ears a break from the noise.
More importantly, keep personal device listening to a maximum of one hour per day, preferably using noise-canceling headphones.
If you're considering brushing off the organization's advice, it has the numbers to back up the fact hearing loss among young people is real.
A reported 43 million people, all between the ages 12 to 35, suffer from a "disabling" reduced ability to hear.
Take the headphones out and consider spending an hour in silence instead. You'll be grateful for it later.