Around one in four teenagers and young adults put their hearing at risk when listening to their personal listening devices.

Unsafe listening practices are highly prevalent worldwide and may place over 1 billion young people aged 12-34 at risk of hearing loss, a study finds.

The study estimated that 23% of the adults studied and 27% of the minors were exposed to excessive noise because of listening to music at an “unsafe level” on their personal listening devices.

The study also projected with somewhat less certainty that 48% of people aged 12-34 around the world are exposed to excessive noise in loud music venues such as clubs or bars.

The study found a pooled prevalence estimate of exposure to unsafe listening from PLDs of nearly 24% (23.81%). For loud entertainment venues prevalence, the pooled estimate of unsafe listening was nearly 50% (48.20%)

About the study

The study aimed to determine the prevalence of unsafe listening practices from exposure to personal listening devices (PLDs) and loud entertainment venues in individuals aged 12–34 years and to estimate the number of young people who could be at risk of hearing loss from unsafe listening worldwide. The study was a meta-analysis and included 33 scientific articles regarding unsafe listening practices published between 2000 and 2021 across three databases and included 19,046 participants in total.

The study, “Prevalence and global estimates of unsafe listening practices in adolescents and young adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, was published in the journal BMJ Global Health.

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