„Digital and interactive hearing protection“


Nowadays, music is a key medium, that accompanies the process of growing up and is a part of identitiy formation. For many adolescents or young adults, headphones are a constant company in daily life. Modern technical devices such as mobile phones, smart phones or MP3 Players make it possible to store plenty of music, that remains accessible anywhere in high volume. Especially the internet plays a big part when it comes to listening to music, given the opportunity to like and share music via social networks such as youtube and facebook. Regular visits at concerts, clubs and parties, strain the sense of hearing even more.

Study „Ohrkan“

In cooperation with the university hospital for Ear-Nose-Throat diseases and head and neck surgery in Regensburg (UKR), the Bavarian State Office for health and food safety (LGL) performs the prospective study „Ohrkan“. Springboard of the study is the increasing harm of everyday noise for young peoples’ sense of hearing, that arises from excessive usage of portable music devices and of club and concert visits.


The following conclusions result from the analyses in the „Ohrkan“ study: Most adolescents use portable music devices. Many are listening to music with high volume for long periods of time. Approximately one fourth even expose themselves to sound levels that – based on knowledge from the Working Conditions Act about the harmful effects of noise – will lead to a higher risk of permanent hearing loss. Risky usage is especially found in socially disadvantaged groups. Reaching the relevant risk group to spread preventional and educational information proves to be diffcult.

Actual Challenge

Since adolescents and young adults show affinity to digital media, it seems convenient to develop an interactive concept that mainly aims for clearance of risk when listening to loud music, and also includes vivid scenarios.

  • Which problem areas and obstacles exist, when trying to sensitize adolescents for hearing loss?
  • How can the individual sense for noise and the consequences of excessive noise exposure be brought to the awareness of young people in a digital way?
  • How can adolescents experience the condition of being hearing-impaired (hearing loss, tinnitus)?
  • Which digital preventional measures could appeal to adolescents? What kind of construction gurantees to address adolescents effectively and at the same time have a positive impact on them (prevention of hearing-impairment)?
  • What volume level and what time period is harmful?
  • How can adolescents enjoy the club visits and at the same time protect themselves from excessive noise exposure?
  • How can a full-featured digital and interactive concept of a health insurance company be arranged for this issue?
Can you find a solution to this challenge?
Challenge owner: n/a (BIG direkt)