20 Percent of Teenagers Have Hearling loss

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicates that one if five teenagers have hear loss. JAMA comments, “In 2005-2006 19.5 percent of children ages 12 to 19 (approx. 6.5 million teens) had some hearing loss, compared with 14.9 percent in an earlier study (1988-1994).” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the study was based on the data.

Are digital music players to blame?

There is a 2010 Australian study that indicates that personal listening devices can cause a 70 percent increased risk of hearing loss in children.

What does hearing loss mean?

The majority of the hearing loss is “slight”. This means that a teenager suffering “slight” hearing loss can’t hear in the range of 16 to 24 decibels. This sound level is at the level of a whisper. Of course, others experience much more severe levels of hearing loss.

Dr. Gary Curhan of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, commented, “I think the evidence is out there that prolonged exposure to loud noise is likely to be harmful to hearing, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t listen to MP3 players.” Dr Curhan also says, “Our hope is we can encourage people to be careful.”

What can we do to limit the risk of digital music players?

1) Did you know the iPod volume limit can be set. You can set the maximum volume of your child’s player.

2) Don’t use ear buds if you have other options.

3) Turn down the sound.

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