Teenage deafness linked to iPods, MP3 players

London: MP3 players, iPods and more exposure to live music could have caused an increase in hearing loss among teenagers, research in the US suggests.

The study noticed that the number of teenagers suffering from hearing problems has shot up by nearly a third in the past 20 years. Also, between 2005 and 2006, one in five adolescents suffered some form of hearing loss, The Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The increase was significantly 6.5 million more than in an earlier survey conducted between 1988 and 1994.

Scientists feel that the exposure to loud noise, including amplified music, may be an explanation.

Josef Shargorodsky, of Brigham and Women`s Hospital, Boston, went through the two databases to find out if there was a comparable degree of hearing loss in the different timeframes.

Though majority of teenagers suffered from slight hearing loss, the number of cases of mild or worse hearing loss was 77 per cent higher in the second survey.

Girls were found less likely to be affected.

The authors wrote in the journal JAMA: "Hearing loss is a common sensory disorder, affecting tens of millions of individuals of all ages in the United States.

"Some risk factors, such as loud sound exposure from listening to music, may be of particular importance to adolescents. The prevalence of hearing loss among a sample of US adolescents aged 12 to 19 years was greater in 2005-06 compared with 1988-94.

"Further studies are needed to determine reasons for this increase and to identify potential modifiable risk factors to prevent the development of hearing loss."


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