These days it seems like every person under 25 is walking around attached to earbuds. What are they listening to? Music on MP3 players — loud music. Over the years quite a bit of buzz has surfaced about teens and hearing loss. Moreover, pediatricians express ongoing concern and several past research projects (article links below) have identified the extent of hearing loss in adolescents.
Now just published research (abstract) by a team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital reports that the problem is serious and getting worse. 19.5 percent of teens may have hearing difficulties according to the study which used data up to 2005-06.
According to the Time Magazine article, the researchers studied teens age 12 – 19, and used data “… collected by the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted over a six-year period in the 1990s and a two-year period more recently.” Read the Wikipedia NHANES explanation.
Good Links to Read on the Current Research and Several Past Studies
- Study: Teen Hearing Loss on the Rise, Washington Post
- Why Teenagers Can’t Hear, New York Times with links to other articles
- Are iPods, Earphones Behind Rising Hearing Loss, Time Magazine
- Research Abstract, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
- Teens Turn Deaf Ear to Risks of MP3 Players, Reuters, 2008
- Surprising Behavior of Teens Shown in New iPod Listening Study, Medical News Today, 2009
- One Out of Five American Teens Have Suffered Hearing Loss, Children’s Hospital of Boston