Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hooked on headphones? Personal listening devices can harm hearing, study finds

Date:
September 1, 2010
Source:
Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
Personal listening devices like iPods have become increasingly popular among young -- and not-so-young -- people in recent years. But music played through headphones too loud or too long might pose a significant risk to hearing, according to a 24-year study of adolescent girls.

Personal listening devices like iPods have become increasingly popular among young -- and not-so-young -- people in recent years. But music played through headphones too loud or too long might pose a significant risk to hearing, according to a 24-year study of adolescent girls.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, involved 8,710 girls of lower socioeconomic status, whose average age was about 16. Their hearing was tested when they entered a residential facility in the U.S Northeast.

"I had the rare opportunity, as an audiologist, to see how this population changed over the years," said Abbey Berg, Ph.D., lead study author and a professor in the Department of Biology & Health Sciences at Pace University in New York.

In this period, high-frequency hearing loss -- a common casualty of excessive noise exposure -- nearly doubled, from 10.1 percent in 1985 to 19.2 percent, she found.

Between 2001, when testers first asked about it, and 2008, personal music player use rose fourfold, from 18.3 percent to 76.4 percent. High-frequency hearing loss increased from 12.4 percent to 19.2 percent during these years, while the proportion of girls reporting tinnitus -- ringing, buzzing or hissing in the ears -- nearly tripled, from 4.6 percent to 12.5 percent.

Overall, girls using the devices were 80 percent more likely to have impaired hearing than those who did not; of the teens reporting tinnitus, all but one (99.7 percent) were users.

However, "just because there's an association, it doesn't mean cause and effect," Berg said. For the girls who took part in the study, other aspects of their lives -- poverty, poor air quality, substance abuse, risk-taking behavior -- might Sadd to the effects of noise exposure.

"This paper offers compelling evidence that the inappropriate use of headphones is indeed affecting some people's hearing, and the number of 'some people' is not small," said Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children's Hospital Boston.

The level of impairment detected in this study might have been relatively subtle "but the point is that it is completely avoidable," said Fligor, who has no affiliation with the study.

"The ear is going to be damaged throughout your lifetime; what we're seeing here resembles early onset age-related hearing loss -- you might think of it as prematurely aging the ear," he said.

"I don't demonize headphones," said Fligor, who encourages moderation, not prohibition. At a reasonable volume -- conversational or slightly louder -- there's little risk, he said: "It's when you start overworking the ear that you get problems."

Berg said her findings suggest the need for more effective educational efforts to reduce unsafe listening behavior, particularly among disadvantaged youth. "You have to target them at a much younger age, when they are liable be more receptive," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for Advancing Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Berg AL, Serpanos YC. High frequency hearing sensitivity in adolescent females of low socioeconomic status over a 24-year period. J Adol Health, online, 2010

Cite This Page:

Center for Advancing Health. "Hooked on headphones? Personal listening devices can harm hearing, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831221525.htm>.
Center for Advancing Health. (2010, September 1). Hooked on headphones? Personal listening devices can harm hearing, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831221525.htm
Center for Advancing Health. "Hooked on headphones? Personal listening devices can harm hearing, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831221525.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins