WHO Releases New Noise Standard for Public Venues to Tackle Hearing Loss
Speech and hearing testing in Karnataka, India. Over one billion people aged 12 – 35 are at risk of hearing loss.

Ahead of World Hearing Day 2022, WHO has issued a new international standard for safe noise levels and hearing at public venues and events.  It aims to combat the growing problem of hearing loss from exposure to excessively loud music and other recreational noise. 

Over 1 billion people aged 12 – 35 risk losing their hearing due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud music and other recreational sounds, which has devastating consequences for their physical and mental health, education, and employment prospects. 

“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,” said Dr Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for the Department for Noncommunicable Diseases.

The Global standard for safe listening at venues and events highlights six recommendations under the theme, To hear for life, listen with care!. The six recommendations in the new WHO report to limit the risk of hearing loss are: 

(1) a maximum average sound level of 100 decibels

(2) live monitoring and recording of sound levels using calibrated equipment by designated staff

(3) optimizing venue acoustics and sound systems to ensure enjoyable sound quality and safe listening

(4) making personal hearing protection available to audiences including instructions on use

(5) access to quiet zones for people to rest their ears and decrease the risk of hearing damage; and

(6) provision of training and information to staff.

More about the safe standard

Image Credits: Trinity Care Foundation/Flickr.

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