Community awareness of noise-induced hearing loss from portable listening devices and possible preventive measures
Farid Alzhrani1, Saad Al-Saleh1, Shayma Asrar2, Ahmed Al-Dhafeeri1, Bashaer Al-Baqami3, Mona Al-Harbi3, Amani Al-Harbi4, Mai Al-Masoud4, Tahera Islam5
1 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Pediatrics, Prince Sultan Military Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Pediatrics, National Guard Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Al-Maarefa Medical College, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 College of Medicine and Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, PO Box 245, Riyadh 11411
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Introduction: Although there is some degree of awareness among adults concerning noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), they may not perceive themselves to be at risk and may, therefore, find it unnecessary to change their listening habits. The current study investigated the beliefs, attitudes, and practices regarding NIHL in the community.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, community-based survey was conducted on 739 respondents from different regions (north, south, west, east, and central) of Saudi Arabia. An electronic Arabic questionnaire (Survey Monkey Arabic questionnaire) was distributed through social media (Facebook, WhatsApp group, and Twitter) for 3 months starting from May 2017. A total of forty questions were designed in order to investigate the participants' beliefs and knowledge about NIHL within the community. Results: Approximately 25% of the study participants reported mild-to-severe hearing problems, especially among male participants. A significantly higher prevalence of hearing problems was noted in listeners who were accustomed to using a volume level of more than 80%. The risk factors for NIHL included the number of sessions per day that the participant was exposed to a noise source and the degree to which the volume of the TV or the radio was increased along with the duration of exposure per session. Approximately 75% of the study participants preferred to decrease the volume of their personal audio devices as a means of protection against NIHL. Conclusion: This study identified that there is a significant prevalence of hearing impairment in the Saudi community. In general, majority of the respondents are aware of the risk factors concerning NIHL. In spite of that, the practice of population showed unhealthy listening habits. The positive attitude of the participants toward changing their lifestyle indicates that there is a need for NIHL awareness campaigns to further educate the community.