The World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicated to the well-being of all people using science-based policies and programs. Since its foundation in 1948, the WHO has been connecting nations and leading global efforts to promote healthier lives for all, including the prevention of hearing loss. Recently, they released new guidelines to further help those exposed to dangerously loud sounds.
Who Is at Risk of Hearing Loss?
The WHO estimates that more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12 to 35 are at risk of losing their hearing due to excessive or prolonged exposure to loud music or other recreational sounds.
The WHO director for the Department for Noncommunicable Diseases, Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, explains in a press release, “Millions of teenagers and young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices and exposure to damaging sound levels at venues such as nightclubs, bars, concerts and sporting events.” She continues, “The risk is intensified as most audio devices, venues and events do not provide safe listening options and contribute to the risk of hearing loss. The new WHO standard aims to better safeguard young people as they enjoy their leisure activities.”
New Guidelines for Venues and Event Spaces
The WHO has released new global standards for safe listening, which includes six recommendations venues and event spaces should implement in order to reduce their patrons’ risk of hearing loss.
Limit Sound Levels
Venues and event spaces should impose a sound level limit to ensure the maximum average sound level does not exceed 100 dB.
Monitor Sound Levels
Event spaces should use calibrated measurement equipment to live monitor and record sound levels.
Optimize Acoustics and Sound Systems
Owners should work to improve their sound system and venue acoustics to ensure their patrons experience enjoyable sound quality at a safe listening level.
Make Personal Hearing Protection Available
Venues should have hearing protection, such as earplugs, available to all patrons. Instructions for correct usage should also be included.
Provide Access to Quiet Zones
Event spaces should create quiet zones where audience members can visit to rest their ears during a show. This can help decrease their risk of permanent hearing damage.
Require Employee Training
Owners should train their staff about the importance of safe listening to make sure staff and patrons are protected.
How to Protect Your Hearing
While these WHO-issued guidelines can help keep you safe while at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, there are a number of steps you can follow to take responsibility for your own hearing health. These include:
- Listening to your personal audio devices at a low volume.
- Using well-fitted headphones, preferably those that are noise-canceling.
- Wearing hearing protection when at a noisy venue.
- Getting your hearing checked regularly.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Elk Grove Hearing Care today.