Say What

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 9:39am

Study finds hearing loss on the rise in teens.

A lot of parents may say their teens don't listen to them, but a new study finds teenagers really aren't hearing as well as they used to.

Dr. Josef Shargorodsky of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston led a new study that compares hearing loss of teens in 2005 and teens from the early 1990s.

He found a significant increase, about 30-percent, in the prevalence of hearing loss among teenagers between the study periods.

The study did not explore possible reasons for the increase, but some experts have an educated guess.

"We've moved into an era where the culture is such that everybody has some kind of private or independent listening device," says Dr. Tommie Robinson of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Ear buds abound in today's teen culture.

They're standard equipment for mp3 players, cell phones and video games.

Speech specialists say the best thing you can do to protect your hearing is turn the volume down.

"If you're standing next to someone and you can hear the music in their ears, it's too loud," says Dr. Robinson.

Most of the hearing loss detected in the new study was slight, but even a slight hearing loss can lead to problems in school and with friends.

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