-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Personal music players may
pose a major risk to hearing if they're played too loudly or for
too long, researchers report.
The 24-year study included 8,710 girls from poorer families,
average age 16, whose hearing was tested when they entered a
residential facility in the northeastern region of the United
States. Between 1985 and 2008, high-frequency hearing loss -- a
common result of excessive noise exposure -- among the girls nearly
doubled, from 10.1 percent to 19.2 percent.
Between 2001 and 2008, personal music player use among the girls
rose fourfold, from 18.3 percent to 76.4 percent. During that same
period, high-frequency hearing loss increased from 12.4 percent to
19.2 percent, and the proportion of girls with tinnitus (ringing,
buzzing or hissing in the ears) nearly tripled, from 4.6 percent to
12.5 percent, the investigators found.
Girls who listened to personal music devices were 80 percent
more likely to have impaired hearing than those who didn't use the
devices, the study authors reported. Of the teens with tinnitus,
99.7 percent used the devices.
However, while the findings show an association between personal
music players and hearing problems, it doesn't show
cause-and-effect, noted study author Abbey Berg, a professor in the
biology and health sciences department at Pace University in New
Other factors in the girls' lives -- such as poverty, poor air
quality, substance abuse and risk-taking behavior -- could add to
the effects of noise exposure from personal music players, she
The findings, released online Aug. 31 in advance of publication
in an upcoming print issue of the
Journal of Adolescent Health, indicate the need to improve efforts to educate young people about safe use of personal music players, Berg suggested.
"You have to target them at a much younger age, when they are liable to be more receptive," she said.
The Center for Hearing and Communication has more about
noise and music.
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