U.S. study suggests a thirty percent increase in levels of teen hearing loss

A new U.S. study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests one in five U.S. teens shows some level of hearing loss, an increase of about 30 per cent over roughly 15 years.
The study compared data from two nationally representative surveys that measured teenagers' hearing in 1988-1994 and 2005-2006 and found the prevalence of mild to severe hearing loss -- 25 decibels or greater -- jumped to 5.3 per cent from 3.5 per cent.

The study examined 2,928 participants between the ages of 12 and 19 in 1988-1994 and 1,771 in 2005-2006.
While researchers did not determine what factors have contributed to the spike in hearing loss among young people, they did look at factors such as participants' economic and ethnic backgrounds, history of ear infections and noise exposure.
Some risk factors linked to hearing loss -- such as exposure to loud music and sounds -- seem particularly relevant for teens. Audiologists believe tens of thousands of young people are likely to suffer from loss of hearing in later life by using their iPod/MP3 players.
Anne-Marie Hurteau, an Audiologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital suggests that new technology allowing young people to listen to music for longer periods of time and at higher volumes can increases the risk of traumatic noise exposures.
To read more about traumatic noise induced hearing loss, and to find out whether you have permanently damaged your hearing, click here for expert advice from our specialists.