WHO: 1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

WHO: 1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss

By: Mary Catherine Coleman

(WFLX) Smartphones, MP3 players, and headphones. They're devices people use every day, but may not consider the long term effects. The World Health Organization warns, 1.1 billion young people are at risk of losing their hearing because of smartphones and earbuds.

Ear specialists say earbuds send focused sound waves to the ear drum, enhancing the volume by as much as 9 decibels. Meanwhile, as technology improves, longer battery life for smartphones and continuous exposure can also play a roll in hearing damage.

According to the National Institutes of Health, repeated exposure to sound over 85 decibels, which many decibel charts compare the noise level of busy city traffic, can cause hearing loss. Studies show it can take as few as 8 minutes of noise at a very high volume for hearing damage to occur.

In an NBC health article, experts noted, "the best way to protect ears is to apply the '60/60' rule: Keep the volume on the mp3 player under 60 percent and only listen for a maximum of 60 minutes a day."

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