Study examines teen beliefs and behaviors around iPod use, risk for hearing loss
Paper to be presented Friday at 34th Annual Hearing Conservation Conference in Atlanta
February 12, 2009
Boston, Mass. -- A new study looks at the volume at which adolescents listen to their iPods, how/if their knowledge and beliefs about hearing loss from headphones influences their behavior, an d whether their listening behaviors put them at increased risk for music-induced hearing loss. Twenty-nine teenagers (12 males, 17 females) participated in the study, which was conducted by audiologists at Children's Hospital Boston and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
This is the first time a study has specifically looked at the teen population and whether the volume at which they actually listen to their devices matches their perceived behavior. Past research by the study authors has looked at the volume levels at which young adults (typically aged 25-28) listen to their iPods and MP3 players.
In this study, participants were asked to set their music volume in varying levels of background noise, estimate how loud they typically listen, and describe their perceptions about their risk for developing hearing loss from using headphones. Results of the research suggest that:
- Teens choose to play their music louder than young adults
- Teenage boys tend to listen at louder levels than girls
- There may be a disconnect between how loud teens think their players are and how loud they actually are
- Surprisingly, teenagers who express more concern about the risk for and severity of hearing loss from MP3 players actually tended to listen at higher levels
- Teenagers who perceive barriers to turning down the volume, such as peer pressure, listen louder
- The behavior exhibited by a small, but significant, percentage of adolescents puts them at increased risk for music-induced hearing loss
- Teens who understood the benefits of listening lower had less hearing loss risk, so targeted education may be key
Brian Fligor, Sc.D., CCC-A, director of Diagnostic Audiology at Childrens, is the co-author on this study. Dr. Fligor will present the paper with his colleague Dr. Cory Portnuff of UC Boulder on Friday, February 13 at the 34th Annual Hearing Conservation Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The paper presentation will occur from 2:50 - 3:10 pm at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Media are welcome to attend. For more information about the event and location, please visit the conference Web site.
Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.
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