JAMA Reports Adolescent Hearing Loss Is On The Rise

If you are constantly telling your teenager to turn down the volume it is with good reason. A new study published in the current issue of  The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that hearing loss among teens is on the rise.

The study conducted by Joseph Shargorodsky, MD, MPH and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston concludes the prevalence of hearing loss among a sample of US adolescents aged 12 -19 was greater in 2005-2006 compared with 1998-2004.

These findings come as no great surprise given Generation Z has had lifetime use of MP3 player, iPods, video games, mobile phones, and live on an increasingly noisy planet. When kids are constantly plugged in they overload their auditory system, which loses its protective mechanism with sustained exposure to loud sound levels over 85dB.

What is most alarming is the estimate that about 1-5 adolescents in America show evidence of hearing loss.  Unless our kids are educated about the risks of exposure to dangerous sound levels and their use of headphones is monitored, I fear this trend will only increase.

Hearing loss makes it difficult to listen in the classroom, follow directions, and learn. Coupled with hearing loss are auditory processing problems making it difficult for the brain to understand what it does hear, further compounding problems with learning, attention and communication. Hearing loss is not reversible, but can be treated with hearing aids. Auditory processing can be improved with targeted neuroauditory training.

Five Suggestions to Help Prevent Teen Hearing Loss

1) Limit headphone use to durations of no longer than 30 minutes to one hour at a time.

2) Set the volume limit on their iPod to about 80% of max volume.

3) Avoid use of ear buds (headphones inserted in the ear canal). Instead use headphones that cover the ears.

4) Use ear plugs in noisy environments, foam or wax plugs inserted properly can reduce volume up to 29dB.

5) Show them the study and ask them if they want to wear hearing aids to their senior prom!

Read the Abstract

View Video

If you are concerned your child may have a hearing loss visit the web site for the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association to find a qualified audiologist who can test your child’s hearing. To learn about The Listening Program® a home-based method for targeted neuroauditory training contact Advanced Brain Technologies 1.888.228.1798 for a complimentary consultation.

One thought on “JAMA Reports Adolescent Hearing Loss Is On The Rise

  1. Maureen Nolan says:

    My 24 year old son has lost half his ear canal hair, those hairs that help control volume and pitch reception. He is now regretting all the teen years of high volume with earphones as he moves toward his goal to be a music technician. As part of the program he must be fluent in piano, his chosen instrument and he has discovered that using the college’s piano rooms can be uncomfortable depending on the key he plays in.
    He has now invested in ear plugs that control volume and pitch so that he can save the remaining hair inside his ears.
    This is an issue of lifestyle and in his case, his professional employment depends on his remaining hearing.

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