March 3, 2022, by Adele Horobin
World Hearing Day 2022
World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. It is led by the World Hearing Forum of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The focus for 2022 is on the importance of safe listening as a means of maintaining good hearing across the life course. Dr Ian Wiggins has been working with the Make Listening Safe initiative. Read on to find out more about this initiative.
World Health Organisation (WHO) and Make Listening Safe
Over 1 billion people aged 12 to 35 years risk losing their hearing due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud music and other recreational sounds. As part of the World Hearing Forum’s activities, the Make Listening safe initiative has been working to realise a world where people of all ages can enjoy recreational listening without risk to their hearing.
The approach of this initiative is to change listening practices and behaviours. WHO aims to achieve this through:
- Raised awareness about the need for and means of safe listening, and
- Implementation of evidence-based standards that can facilitate behaviour change in target population groups
International standard for safe listening at venues and events
Ahead of World Hearing Day 2022, under the theme To hear for life, listen with care! WHO has issued a new international standard for safe listening at venues and events. The standard highlights six recommendations for implementation to ensure that venues and events limit the risk of hearing loss to their patrons while preserving high-quality sound and an enjoyable listening experience. The six recommendations 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
(6) provision of training and information to staff.
Dr Ian Wiggins, who has co-authored the WHO Global Standard for Safe Listening Venues and Events said
“Safe listening and sound quality go hand in hand, so my hope is that the standard will lead to safer, higher quality, and more enjoyable listening experiences for audiences around the world.”
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work together with so many talented people from across the music industry, academia and public health to develop this standard”.
You can download the Global Standard for Safe Listening Venues and Events at: WHO global standard for safe listening venues and events and read more about its publication at: WHO releases new standard to tackle rising threat of hearing loss
For more information about the World Hearing Forum, please see: Promoting the World Hearing Forum (who.int)
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