In the city of Milan the average noise level reaches 66 decibels in the city. Almost 30% of the measurements made are positioned above 76 decibels, much higher than the 55 dB recommended by the European Environment Agency as a daily average of noise exposure. This is what emerged from the more than 1,100 surveys carried out in Milan by the users of the noise tracker of the ‘Listen Responsibly’ App, launched by Amplifon last year with the aim of creating the first crowd-sourced map of the acoustic ecology of our country and raising awareness citizens on the importance of conscious listening. The data were illustrated at the conference of the Amplifon Research and Studies Center (Crs) for its 50th year of activity. At the center of the work – which took place from 11 to 14 May 2021 – the goals of research in otolaryngology and audiology in Italy and future prospects, in a rapidly changing context also and not only due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the main topics of the last day, noise pollution and the importance of hearing prevention, even among the youngest. According to the World Health Organization, there are in fact more than a billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 whose hearing is at risk due to uncontrolled exposure to sources of excessive noise. These data – reads an Amplifon note – confirm that noise pollution still represents a widespread trend, especially in large cities, both indoors and in open and public spaces, and therefore the need to promote prevention messages on hearing well-being and the culture of responsible listening. “Hearing prevention is essential to preserve the correct functioning of our hearing over time. This is why it is important to carry out periodic checks and, in the same way, protect hearing from trauma and exposure to uncontrolled noise in terms of intensity and duration” , commented Fabio Piazza, director of the Otolaryngology complex of the Carlo Poma hospital in Mantua, on the sidelines of the conference. “Even young people are now exposed to the risk of early hearing loss, mainly due to their exposure to acoustic trauma due to listening to loud music. Prevention must therefore concern all age groups”, he concluded From the discussion among the experts gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Crs Amplifon – the note recalls – therefore, ideas and advice emerged to prevent, in a simple and daily way, a possible premature hearing loss. These are the recommendations: in the presence of prolonged loud noise, for example during concerts or other large events, use ear protectors (earplugs and headphones) or move away from the noise source; for safe listening to music with headphones or earphones, respect the 60 ‘/ 60’ rule: use your device at a maximum of 60% of its volume and for a maximum of 60 continuous minutes. And again: avoid acoustic trauma due to falls, for example by using the helmet even on a bike or in mono skate; carry out periodic hearing checks and consult a specialist in the presence of the first symptoms; to find out the surrounding noise level, use a noise tracker, such as the ‘Listen Responsibly’ app.
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