Scottish Warning About Headphones Use

20 September 2015, 07:23 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

man in headphones

Almost three-quarters of people in Scotland do not know how to avoid potential ear damage when listening to music through headphones, a new report has warned.

Research showed 73% of people questioned in Scotland were unaware of the NHS guidelines on earphone use which recommend a listening time of 60 minutes a day at 60% level of volume.

The survey revealed the figure for the UK as a whole was 81%, with 94% of parents of 16-year-olds in the dark over the guidelines.

John Quail, managing director of, which commissioned the research, said: ``Parents are well aware of talked about health issues for children and teens, such as alcohol awareness and healthy eating, so learning the risks of personal music devices may come as a shock to many across the country.

``The main concern in this case is not only the level of damage that children and teenagers could be inflicting on themselves without them or their parents knowing, but the lasting effects of tinnitus and music-related deafness, and how that will impact the rest of their lives.

``This is potentially an issue of long-term health risks, something that will understandably cause parents distress.''

The firm said that claims for industrial deafness have historically come from those working in heavy engineering occupations but it suggested there could be a risk of a different type of long-term ear damage legacy in the future.

Dr Priya Singh, UCL's education director and a consultant audiologist, said: ``This survey highlights a significant health risk that, whilst being very real, is also very preventable.

``My hope is that parents and teenagers will become more conscious of poor earphone use and potential damage, and be able to limit any future long-term ear damage.

``Adopting the 60:60 rule outlined by NHS guidelines is an excellent starting point and will help protect your hearing.

``Research at places like UCL is constantly improving our understanding of the ear, and it may be that the NHS will review its guidelines in the future - as it always does. But for now the 60:60 rule is easy to remember and a great help to parents and others worried about their hearing.''