risk of deafness or tinnitus – WWN

risk of deafness or tinnitus – WWN

Of Cristina Marrone

Gamers play with headphones at volumes frequently above safe limits at the risk of experiencing hearing loss too early

Who plays the video games could risk lose hearing permanently or to face tinnitus (the persistent ringing in the ear). the result of a systematic review of all available research on the topic. The analysis suggests that the sound levels reported in various studies conducted on over 50 thousand players are close, and very often exceed the permitted limits. And since video games are a global phenomenon, especially involving children and adolescents, researchers have called for greater attention and awareness of the phenomenon. In fact, while the use of earphones or headphones or attending live concerts are activities recognized as potentially dangerous for hearing, little attention has been given to video games.

How many people potentially involved

It is estimated that there are more 3 billion gamers in the world who often play with a very high volume for several hours at a time with some noises, such as gunshots, which can be very loud. Among other things, players almost always play with headphones rather than with the device’s speakers and this leads to using a higher volume than normal to fully enjoy the experience.

The study, published in British Medical Journal Public Health, analyzed 14 different studies, involving 53 thousand people. The work concluded that gamers who listen at high intensity sound levels and for long periods of time may be at risk of permanent sound-induced hearing loss and/or tinnitus.

Volume guidelines: safe levels

According to the World Health Organization, the maximum safe exposure to noise is 80 decibels for 40 hours per week and for every three additional decibels the permitted exposure time is reduced by half. For children, noise exposure levels are lower: 75 decibels for 40 hours per week. They can therefore listen to a sound at 83 decibels for approximately 6.5 hours, a sound at 86 decibels for approximately 3.25 hours, 92 decibels for 45 minutes and 98 decibels for just 12 minutes. The study found that sounds are almost always close to these limits and often exceed them.

Normal speech is usually at the level of 40 decibels (60 when speaking loudly, perhaps during a conference) while the noise of traffic in the city or of a speeding train are sounds that are between 65 and 80 decibels. . However, when you go to a disco or a rock concert or listen to music with earphones, the sound usually reaches and often exceeds 90 decibels. In these cases, if you listen to music at a high volume for more than half an hour you already run the risk of damaging your hearing. Those who play games regularly are more likely to experience tinnitus, measured high-frequency hearing loss, and self-perceived hearing difficulties than those who do not, said Dr. Lauren Dillard, an audiologist and epidemiologist, who co-authored the study. .

The previous alarms: what happens to the ear

One previous study published in the British Medical Journal Global Health had already raised the alarm, concluding that Over one billion adolescents and young adults are potentially at risk of hearing loss due to the massive use of headphones and earphones at high volume and frequenting clubs with very loud music. Exposure to sound at too high a volume can strain the cells and sensory structures in the ear. With very high intensity noise, the protection of the cochlea is automatically activated: the stirrup, last in the chain of ear ossicles, pumps less sound into the cochlea, limiting damage as much as possible. And this is the reason why, when we leave a nightclub or a concert, our ears are blocked. When this process goes on too long they can take over permanent damage such as hearing loss, tinnitus, or both.

Disabling hearing loss

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than that 430 million people worldwide currently suffer from disabling hearing loss. Young people are particularly vulnerable due to the use of personal listening devices such as smartphones, headphones and earphones and the fact that they frequent places more frequently where loud music is played (discos, concerts).

How to prevent hearing loss

When you feel a ringing in the ear (defense signal) a very clear signal that the music is too loud and this often happens at concerts. How can the problem be prevented? Anyone who listens to music with earphones knows that many devices in use today allow you to monitor listening volume and they signal with a red alert when the decibels are too high. However, boys often don’t pay attention to it and in any case tend to Don’t turn down the volume to cover background noise (for example when traveling on a busy street or on the subway). The same thing happens with gamer headphones. Some advanced devices not only signal, but prevent you from turning up the volume if you are exaggerating. There are some headphones on the market that reduce background noise and this can help maintain lower volumes. However, it is not always possible to control the volume independently. When you are at a concert or in a particularly noisy place, it is best to protect your hearing away from the speakers or in any case trying to take breaks away from noise. You can wear earplugs to muffle it.

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January 18, 2024 (changed January 18, 2024 | 07:15)

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