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Hearing loss among girls and exposure to loud noise -- sounds familiar

“Teenagers are going to ruin their hearing with all that loud music.” We’ve all heard that admonishment, or something close to it. Now we get further proof that it’s true, especially among teen girls.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 4,000 adolescents, parsing it for trends in hearing loss. They found a particular type of hearing loss brought on by exposure to loud noise. Many numbers ensued. Here’s the abstract published online Monday in Pediatrics if you want a taste.

The upshot: “Increased exposure to recreational noise and minimal use of hearing protection might have lead to an increase in [noise-induced threshold shifts] prevalence among female youths.”

But it’s not just girls who are losing it. “One in every five teens now has at least a slight hearing loss, which can affect learning, speech perception, social skills development and self-image; one in every 20 has a more severe loss.” So says this Los Angeles Times story about another study on the topic.

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More worrisome yet, writes the editor of Pediatrics in this blog post is that teens don’t seem to make the connection between loud music and hearing damage. And yes, we’ve all heard that before too.


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