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If we have ears, let us listen now - EDITORIAL

10 March 2015 04:04 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Atomic energy and dynamite are among the great discoveries which a selfish world is today using more for self-destructive purposes than for development of human beings and resources.  At least nine countries have abused atomic energy to build a nuclear weapon, which could shatter the whole world to pieces within minutes. 

The latest and most sensational discovery is the power of the microchip. But the world Health Organisation warned over the weekend that  some  1.1 billion teenagers and young adults were at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.

Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by the WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues, WHO warned in a report to mark the World Ear Care Day. 

Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibles (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.

“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” said Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. 

“The young people should be aware that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”

Safe listening depends on the intensity or loudness of sound and the duration and frequency of listening. Exposure to loud sounds can result in temporary hearing loss or tinnitus, which is a ringing sensation in the ear. When the exposure is particularly loud, regular or prolonged, it can lead to permanent damage of the ear’s sensory cells, resulting in irreversible hearing loss, WHO said. 

The WHO recommended that the highest permissible level of noise exposure in the workplace was 85 dB up to a maximum of eight hours per day. 

Many patrons of nightclubs, bars and sporting events are often exposed to even higher levels of sound and should therefore considerably reduce the duration of exposure. For example, exposure to noise levels of 100 dB, which is typical in such venues, is safe for no more than 15 minutes.

Teenagers and young people can better protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues, and using carefully fitted, and, if possible, noise-cancelling earphones or headphones. 

They can also limit the time spent engaged in noisy activities by taking short listening breaks and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour. With the help of smartphone apps, they can monitor safe listening levels. In addition they should heed the warning signs of hearing loss and get regular hearing check-ups, the WHO said.

Sri Lanka’s new National Unity Government committed to good governance and social justice including good healthcare and education for all -needs to ring the warning bells and take action to bring about more awareness among the people and to reduce the danger from noise pollution. 

One practical step could a ban on the use of loudspeakers after 10.30 p.m. at any public place to reduce the  danger from sound pollution and allow the people in the surrounding area to sleep in peace. 

According to latest reports, about 27 million mobile phones—including the latest smartphones and tabs – are being used if not misused or abused in a small country where the population is only about 21 million. 

For most young people the latest smartphones are more of a status symbol than a means of instant communication. 

Mislead by promotional gimmicks they even borrow money to buy two or three mobile phones. How many ears must they have to listen to the strong danger signals? 
 
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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

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