About 360 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from moderate to profound hearing loss due to noise, genetic conditions, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, and ageing.
Experts however say half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.
Analysis of data from studies in middle- and high-income countries by WHO indicates that among teenagers and young adults aged 12 to 35 years, nearly 50 per cent are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40 per cent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.
It also indicates that unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to an excess of 85 decibels for eight hours or 100 decibels for 15 minutes.
WHO said: “As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” according to Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
“They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it will not come back. Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.
“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 to the ear’s sensory cells, resulting in irreversible hearing loss.”
Dr Abdulhafiz Usman said ear pain can refer to a pain in the ear. He said, “constant use of earphones can damage the ear especially when sound is coming beyond the safety range”.
He said ear pain can be an infection in the ear such as otitis media trauma to the ear, ear wax build-up, sinus infection and throat infection.
Others are water trapped in the ear, soapy water or shampoo trapped in the ear and use of cotton bud.
Also, the buildup of pressure in the ear as seen in flight or use of headphones or earpiece has contributed to ear pain.
Dr. Usman also advised that constant use of headphone or earpiece should be minimized to avoid damage to the ear.
“Governments also have a role to play by developing and enforcing strict legislation on recreational noise, and by raising awareness of the risks of hearing loss through public information campaigns.
“Parents, teachers and physicians can educate young people about safe listening, while managers of entertainment venues can respect the safe noise levels set by their respective venues, use sound limiters, and offer earplugs and “chill out” rooms to patrons.
“Manufacturers can design personal audio devices with safety features and display information about safe listening on products and packaging,” he advised.
WHO recommended that 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/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 organisation said.