Article

Teenage Use of Portable Listening Devices: A Hazard to Hearing?

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (Impact Factor: 1.59). 11/2011; 22(10):663-77. DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.22.10.5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recently, a number of popular media articles have raised some concern that portable listening devices (PLDs) may be increasing the risk for music-induced hearing loss (MIHL). However, literature regarding adolescents' listening behavior and how their attitudes and beliefs relate to behavior is currently limited.
The purposes of this study were (1) to investigate the relationship between volume control settings and output levels of PLDs, (2) to examine how adolescents' listening behavior changes as a function of background noise and noise isolation, (3) to investigate the relationship between self-reported listening levels and laboratory-measured listening levels, and (4) to evaluate the validity of the Listening Habits Questionnaire as a research tool for evaluating how attitudes and beliefs relate to PLD use behavior.
A descriptive study. Experiment 1 evaluated the output levels of a set of PLDs, and Experiment 2 characterized the listening behavior and attitudes toward PLD use of a group of adolescents.
Twenty-nine adolescents aged 13-17 yr, with normal hearing, participated in Experiment 2.
Experiment 1 evaluated the output levels of a set of PLDs with stock and accessory earphones using an acoustic manikin. Experiment 2 included survey measures of listening behavior and attitudes as well as output levels measured using a probe microphone.
The output levels of PLDs are capable of reaching levels that could increase the risk for MIHL, and 14% of teenagers in this study reported behavior that puts them at increased risk for hearing loss. However, measured listening levels in the laboratory settings did not correlate well with self-reported typical listening levels. Further, the Listening Habits Questionnaire described in this study may provide a useful research tool for examining the relationship between attitudes and beliefs and listening behavior.

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May 27, 2014

Cory D. F. Portnuff