The World Health Organization (WHO) directs international health within the United Nations and leads partners in global health responses. In preparation for World Hearing Day 2022, the WHO has released a new international standard for safe listening practices at venues and events. These standards are aligned with the theme of this year’s World Health Day: To hear for life, listen with care!
New Recommendations for Venues & Events
The Global standard for safe listening at venues and events poses six recommendations that should be implemented by venues such as Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe to minimize the risk of hearing damage to patrons. They are outlined as follows:
- A maximum average sound level of 100 decibels.
- Live monitoring and recording of sound levels using calibrated equipment by designated staff.
- Optimizing venue acoustics and sound systems to ensure enjoyable sound quality and safe listening.
- Making personal hearing protection available to audiences including instructions on use.
- Access to quiet zones for people to rest their ears and decrease the risk of hearing damage.
- Provision of training and information to staff.
These standards were developed under the WHO’s Make Listening Safe initiative and draws on the latest evidence and consultation from WHO experts, government, industry, consumers and civil society.
Other Ways to Protect Your Hearing
The WHO reports that as many as 1.1 billion young people ages 12 to 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud music and other recreational sounds. This can have devastating impacts on physical and mental health, education and employment.
To prevent this, the WHO recommends that individuals:
- Keep the volume down on personal audio devices.
- Use well-fitted or noise-canceling headphones or earbuds.
- Wear earplugs at noisy venues.
- Get regular hearing checkups.
What the Experts Have to Say
Dr. Bente Mikkelsen, WHO Director for the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases reports, “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… The risk is intensified as most audio devices, venues and events do not provide safe listening options and contribute to the risk of hearing loss. The new WHO standard aims to better safeguard young people as they enjoy their lei
sure activities.” For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Elevate Audiology today.