Parents have lots to worry about when keeping their children safe when gaming, be it ensuring they’re playing age-appropriate games, that they’re not being groomed by other online gamers or that they’re not racking up huge bills with in-game purchases. Now there is something else to consider, and it is very important… Their precious hearing.
A research paper published yesterday by the BMJ reviewed 14 studies, which involved over 50,000 people in total, suggests that gamers regularly play for long periods of time (with or without headsets) with volumes beyond safe limits. Some of these studies found correlations between gaming and irreversible hearing loss as well as tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Part of the issue is the volume, with shooting games in particular ranging from 88.5 – 119 decibels (dB), the other issue is the length of time spent gaming with sound at these levels. The WHO guidance for adults is that they can safely be exposed to 80dB for 40 hours per week, to only listen to 85dB for a maximum of four hours a week, and 90dB for one hour and 15 minutes per week, with thresholds for children being even lower.
Our advice is to discuss this with the gamers in your house, and regularly monitor the volume of the headsets and the length of time spent gaming.
If you are concerned about you or your loved one’s hearing, we have our in-house audiologist who can assess the ears, hearing levels and provide practical advice and treatment for any issues or concerns. If you would like to book an appointment, you can do so here or call on 01423 787800.