How optimized acoustics reduce risks of hearing loss

January 1, 1

The Apple Hearing Health Study is the first of its kind to collect data over time in order to understand how everyday sound exposure can impact hearing

Mikkeller Restaurant, Taiwan

Every day our hearing health is being endangered , for example, hearing loss, due to excessive noise exposure, is the United States’ third most widespread chronic health condition – more common than diabetes or cancer.

Hearing loss has turned into a worldwide serious health problem and  Various companies and organisations, such as Apple and the World Health Organization (WHO), are taking interest in investigating this social health issue.

Studies and campaigns help prevent hearing loss

Hearing loss is a health issue that now especially threatens young people. To give an idea about the large scale of this problem: the World Health Organization revealed that 1 in 2 young people between 12 and 35 are nowadays exposed to unsafe volume levels through their smartphones, computers or MP3 players. As an initiative to help counter this problem, Apple has started hearing studies to understand which factors affect our hearing health. The new Research app will collect personalized information for making iPhone and Apple Watch users aware about the dangers of their listening behaviour.

Apple has decided to share these collected data with the World Health Organization to support Make Listening Safe, a WHO awareness campaign for promotion of safe listening. Eventually, this collaboration study with WHO will provide more insights in the risks of excessive volume levels and their impact on our daily lives.

Noise exposure at public venues

One of the main objectives of WHO’s Make Listening Safe initiative is to create a regulatory framework for monitoring volume levels in public venues. Venues such as bars, restaurants and hotels form one of the major contributors to hearing loss, due to frequently exceeding the recommended volume limits.

However, next to excessive volume levels there is another reason why noise exposure at these venues can lead to hearing loss in the long term: bad acoustics. Continuous exposure to indoor noise pollution can carry severe consequences. Every year 10,000 Europeans die as a result of persistent noise pollution.

Excellent acoustics for better hearing health

So how can we optimize acoustics in our daily environment?

To diminish these repercussions of uncontrolled, poor acoustics, we need materials that absorb and dampen ambient sound levels, which prevents reverberation. Sound absorbing materials such as stone wool can help control sound pressure levels and constitute the core material in Rockfon’s tiles and panels. The use of these tiles and panels is an effective way to achieve the ideal balance of acoustic comfort and, therefore, greatly reduce the risks of noise pollution and hearing loss.