Hearing loss in teens has risen 30% in 20 years.
Listening to personal music players such as iPods has contributed to hearing loss among teenagers rising by nearly a third in 20 years, a study shows. Between 2005 and 2006, one in five adolescents suffered some form of hearing problem.
This is 30 per cent more than in a study carried out between 1988 and 1994, researchers told the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although the findings come from data on American teenagers, British experts are warning that youngsters in this country are suffering similar problems.
Excessive levels of loud music heard through headphones are partly blamed, along with other sources of loud amplified music.
The study, carried out at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, looked at two databases to see if there was any change in hearing loss over the past 20 years.
Around 15 per cent of 12- to 19-year-olds reported some degree of hearing loss between 1988 and 1994. This rose to 19.5 per cent by 2005/6.
The majority of problems were described as ‘slight’ but the number of cases of mild or worse hearing loss was 77 per cent higher in the later survey.
Girls were less likely to be affected, while those below the poverty line were at higher risk.
The report said: ‘Adolescent hearing loss, although common, is not well understood and can have important educational and social implications.
‘Some risk factors, such as loud sound exposure from listing to music, may be of particular importance to adolescents.’
Researcher Josef Shargorodsky said further research is needed to ‘determine reasons for this increase’.
This will help to ‘identify potential modifiable risk factors to prevent … hearing loss’, he added.
The European Commission has warned that up to 10 per cent of 30-year-olds may have to wear a hearing device within a decade because they listen to music too loudly through headphones.
Surveys show more than 90 per cent of young people in Europe and the U.S. use MP3 players, including iPods, often for several hours a day at maximum volume.
Hearing experts recommend the 60/60 rule – listening for no more than 60 minutes at a time and at 60 per cent of maximum volume.
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People found that 66 per cent of MP3 users listen to music at a volume louder than the EU’s.
Via Daily Mail