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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More teens listen to music these days on i-Pods or MP3 players, but blasting tunes on their headphones may not be causing hearing damage after all.
It’s not who you would expect to lose hearing. However, girls like it loud, which results in consequences for those pretty, young ears.
If you hear any noise it isn’t the boys, it’s the girls.
In a study of more than 4,000 teens, girls have just as much noise-induced hearing loss as boys. The numbers show a five percent increase for girls compared to the 1990s.
For both girls and boys, nearly one in five has significant hearing loss by age 19.
“I think it is music more than any other factor nowadays,” Dr. Todd Hillman, a neuro-otologist at Allegheny General Hospital said. “Teenagers don’t notice the hearing loss, the damage they’re doing while they’re [doing] it, [until] many years down the road.”
High volumes and long exposure can cause hearing loss by damaging the specialized sensory cells inside the ear that pick up sound waves.
The damage doesn’t seem to be headphones and ear buds, as many worry. However, hearing loss from these devices may show up years later.
More significant factors that cause hearing loss are concerts and clubbing.
“An average rock concert is about 115 decibels. Hearing loss can start at about 85 decibels,” Dr. Hillman said.
If concerts and clubbing are a must, there are some adjustments you can make to save your ears.
“Turn down the music a little bit if you can, stay away from the loudest part of the music, do it in small doses,” Dr. Hillman said.
This particular study appears in the journal Pediatrics.
Dr. Hillman said more study needs to be done to figure out exactly how much noise teens are exposed to, what activities produce the noise and how much hearing loss they’re suffering from these activities.