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: 1.58). 11/2011; 22(10):663-77. DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.22.10.5
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Cory D. F. Portnuff
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    • "Since the early 1980s, there has been a decrease in the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, while social noise exposure has tripled.[1]High sound levels during various leisure activities, such as the use of personal music players234567and attendance at clubs891011121314and concerts,15161718might pose risks to hearing. However, the literature regarding the prevalence of NIHL caused by recreational noise has revealed inconsistent results. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is great concern regarding the development of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in youth caused by high sound levels during various leisure activities. Health-orientated behavior of young adults might be linked to the beliefs and attitudes toward noise, hearing loss, and hearing protector devices (HPDs). The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of attitudes and beliefs toward noise, hearing loss, and HPDs on young adults' hearing status. A questionnaire and an audiological test battery were completed by 163 subjects (aged 18-30 years). The questionnaire contained the Youth Attitude to Noise Scale (YANS) and Beliefs about Hearing Protection and Hearing Loss (BAHPHL). A more positive attitude or belief represented an attitude where noise or hearing loss is seen as unproblematic and attitudes and beliefs regarding HPDs is worse. Hearing was evaluated using (high frequency) pure tone audiometry (PTA), transient evoked and distortion product otoacoustic emissions. First, mean differences in hearing between the groups with different attitudes and beliefs were evaluated using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Second, a χ2 test was used to examine the usage of HPDs by the different groups with different attitudes and beliefs. Young adults with a positive attitude had significantly more deteriorated hearing and used HPDs less than the other subjects. Hearing conservation programs (HCPs) for young adults should provide information and knowledge regarding noise, hearing loss, and HPDs. Barriers wearing HPDs should especially be discussed. Further, those campaigns should focus on self-experienced hearing related symptoms that might serve as triggers for attitudinal and behavioral changes.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Noise and Health
    • "For PMP use individual data on SPL was available from the questionnaires . Based on pupils' data on the average volume setting on their PMPs in percentage of the maximum possible sound volume, corresponding SPLs were taken from the literature to describe the sound level of 'Listening to PMPs via headphones (charts, rock, pop)' and 'Listening to music (stationary stereos) via headphones' (Portnuff et al, 2011). Among the 1903 participants who reported listening to music using PMPs, 297 did not report the volume control setting and the overall median value was used. "
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate total leisure noise exposure among adolescents and to assess its association with hearing. Based on self-reported time spent on 19 leisure activities and associated mean sound pressure levels reported in the literature, total leisure noise exposure was evaluated and compared to noise at work limits (> 85 dB(A) = hazardous) in a cross-sectional survey. Tympanometry and pure-tone audiometry was performed in sound isolated rooms. The study sample consists of 2143 pupils attending grade nine in any school in a German city 2009-2011 (mean age: 15.4 years; range: 13-19 years). Audiometric data were available for 1837 (85.8%) pupils (53.9% girls). 41.9% of the 2143 adolescents who had provided self-reported data on leisure activities associated with noise exposure were estimated to be hazardously exposed to leisure time noise. The interaction of gender with total leisure time noise exposure was not significant. No association between leisure time noise exposure and audiometric notches could be detected. While hearing loss seems seldom in this age group, a high proportion of adolescents aged 15-16 years are exposed to noise levels during leisure time bearing long-term risks of hearing loss.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · International journal of audiology
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    • "Adolescents often attend indoor as well as outdoor music venues where sound levels easily reach 104-112 dB(A). [1] In addition, the use of personal listening devices of which maximum output levels often exceed safety barriers,234 has become an established act in the daily lives of this group. As a consequence of increased recreational noise exposure, noise-induced hearing symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis have become more prevalent in the younger population. "
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