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Abu Dhabi: Using headsets every day could lead to partial and irreversible hearing loss doctors have warned, urging people to limit the use of headsets to avoid any potential hearing damage.

Dr Bajes Al Badareen

Dr Bajes Al Badareen

“The main effect of using headsets too much is a decrease in hearing. The risk factors are associated with the duration of the headset use and how loud the volume is,” said Dr Taher Abdul Razik, an otolaryngologist specialist at Bareen International Hospital.

“The effect may not appear immediately. It depends on each person and also on how they are using the headset. Sometimes it may appear quicker in some people than in others,” he added.

“It also doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, using headsets can cause hearing loss among all age groups,” Dr Abdel Razik said.

Commenting on the signs to look out for, he said they include ringing noises in the ear and difficulty in hearing.

“Sometimes the hearing loss is very minimal and so the person may not notice any difference. In other cases the person will actually start to notice that their hearing is not as good as before. For example, they find themselves turning up the volume of the television in the house to be able to hear better.

“If the patient comes to us once they immediately notice a problem we can potentially help and treat the issue. However, the later they come the less there is we can do and the damage becomes irreversible,” he added.

Dr Taher Abdul Razik

Dr Taher Abdul Razik

“If the patient comes to us once they immediately notice a problem we can potentially help and treat the issue. However, the later they come the less there is we can do and the damage becomes irreversible,” he added.

Dr Bajes Al Badareen, an otolaryngologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said it was better for people to avoid using headsets all together, and if not possible, to severely limit how long — and how loud — they use a headset.

“If it is possible for someone to not use headsets that would be better, as they are avoiding any risks to their hearing. If someone is going to use a headset then it’s important to stay within proper limits — these include a decrease in the volume and for how long they are going to use the headset.

15minutes

at a stretch is the maximum time one should use headsets

“Don’t go above 60 per cent of the volume level if you’re talking to someone or listening to music, always keep the volume at a minimal setting so as not to harm your hearing. In terms of how long a person should use a headset, my advice is not longer than 15 minutes,” he added.

“If a person does use headsets on a regular basis with a loud volume then unfortunately the end result will be a permanent partial hearing loss for which there is no cure. This makes it very important to take proper care,” Al Badareen said.

Al Badareen also advised people to buy better quality headsets such as noise cancelling headsets that block out any noises.

“People usually turn up the volume of their headsets to block out any other noises, and so the advantage with noise cancelling headsets is these headsets do that for them and so they aren’t forced to raise the volume to levels that could harm their hearing.”

Awareness campaigns

Both doctors were also in agreement on the need for awareness campaigns to educate the public on the safe use of headsets.

“Headsets have become a very normal daily habit for a lot of people. Many people will be wearing headsets for hours on end. I think we have to start awareness from schools to educate the children about headsets and how they can affect their hearing and why it’s best to not use them for long durations,” Dr Abdel Razik said.

“Along with spreading awareness in schools, this should be complimented with public campaigns as well to educate the wider community. As a doctor I have seen a lot of patients who have had hearing loss because of using headsets, and so this is a common occurrence which means that we do need to educate the public on the matter,” he added.