Teens Suffering Hearing Loss an Alarming Trend

family with teenagers

Research indicates that young people today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 teenagers have some hearing loss.

Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data collected from more than 4,600 12-to-19-year-olds in two ongoing federal surveys. The first spanned from 1988 to 1994, and the other from 2005 to 2006.

According to data from this study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the prevalence of hearing loss increased from 14.9 percent from 1988-94 to 19.5 during 2005-06, a rise of about 4.6% percent.

Some other interesting results from the survey:

  • High-frequency hearing loss was more common than that in low frequencies
  • Most of the time the loss was in one ear
  • Girls were much less likely than boys to have lost some hearing

While the study did not examine specific reasons for the increase of hearing loss in teens, most experts agree that it is due to exposure to loud music for long stretches of time on MP3 players, iPods and other portable devices.

The issue received national attention in March 2013, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the cause as his latest public health crusade, announcing a $250,000 social media campaign to caution young people about the dangers of exposure to loud music on personal listening devices.

How can adults encourage young people to stop this trend and listen more carefully? One good tip is to use the 60/60 rule. Listen to music at 60 percent of the max volume and for only 60 minutes.

Here at North Fulton Ear, Nose & Throat, we encourage people to wear hearing protection when they go to concerts. Inexpensive ear buds are available for as little as $1 and can significantly reduce the amount of potentially damaging noise at a concert without affecting the musical experience. For more information about preserving your hearing, or to schedule a hearing evaluation, Contact Us today.

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