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Gamers face irreversible hearing loss: Doctors raise concerns

Gamers face irreversible hearing loss: Doctors raise concerns Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Gamers who play video games for too long and too loudly are at risk of serious health problems. It's not just about deteriorating vision but also irreversible hearing loss.

Sky News reports about the specific risks posed to gamers and how to safeguard their health.

What and why poses a threat to gamers

According to the results of 14 global studies involving over 50,000 people conducted by a team of experts from the World Health Organization and the University of South Carolina, published in the medical journal BMJ Public Health, the sound levels during video games often exceed permissible safe limits.

Scientists emphasize that gamers are risking their own health because excessively loud sounds pose a threat to:

  • Irreversible hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)

The risk is further heightened by the fact that people typically play games for extended periods, while intense "impulsive" sounds (gunshots, sirens, sharp combat sounds) adversely affect the body.

Is there cause for concern?

According to researchers, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the risks that gamers face, considering:

  • The abundance of various games and shooters on the market
  • Extended gaming time among many users
  • The particular popularity of games among children and adolescents

"Findings suggest that there may be a need to prioritise interventions, such as initiatives focused on education and awareness of the risks of gaming, that can help promote safe listening among gamers," they emphasized.

Additionally, there is a need for further research to promote a safe gaming experience for both adults and children.

Gamers face irreversible hearing loss: Doctors raise concerns

Entertainment should be safe (Illustrative Photo: pixabay.com)

How to preserve health

In order to preserve one's health, experts advise approaching gaming intelligently and adhering to a set of recommendations:

  • Avoid playing games for excessively long periods.
  • Do not set game sounds too loud (especially when using headphones).

According to scientists, the acceptable gaming time depends, in part, on the sound level, measured in decibels (dB):

Sound at the level of 83 dB allows for relatively safe gaming for 20 hours per week.

  • 86 dB - 10 hours per week.
  • 98 dB - only 38 minutes per week.

For children, the noise level should be even lower:

  • 75 dB for 40 hours per week.
  • 83 dB for about 6.5 hours per week.
  • 98 dB - only 12 minutes per week.

Gamers face irreversible hearing loss: Doctors raise concernsLoud sounds in headphones - particularly dangerous (illustrative photo: pixabay.com)

Are household noises dangerous?

According to researchers, hearing loss can be triggered by repeated or prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 dB, equivalent to the noise created by a blender.

Data from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) in the UK suggests that safe exposure to such noise levels is up to 8 hours per day.

However, other household sounds can be even louder:

  • Intense city traffic - 88 dB.
  • Pneumatic drill - 91 dB.
  • Live concert sound - 110 dB.
  • A plane taking off at a distance of about 100 meters - 130 dB.

RNID has added that 140 dB is the sound level that causes pain in most people, but lower levels can also lead to discomfort (with the intensity of sound doubling with each 3 dB increase).

"Remember that you're exposed to lots of different sounds that are 85dB or over throughout the day, and this exposure time adds up," summed up the charitable organization.