Although these cells usually recover, the researchers cautioned that repeated exposure to loud noise could permanently damage hearing.
The authors said more research is needed to determine if teenage ears are more sensitive than adult ears. Guidelines for noise exposure among teenagers may need to be updated, they added.
"It also means we definitely need to be doing more to ensure the sound levels at concerts are not so loud as to cause hearing loss and neurological damage in teenagers, as well as adults," said Derebery. "Only three of our 29 teens chose to use ear protection, even when it was given to them and they were encouraged to do so. We have to assume this is typical behavior for most teen listeners, so we have the responsibility to get the sound levels down to safer levels."
The researchers pointed out that teenagers should take advantage of sound meter "apps" available for smartphones, which provide an estimate of surrounding noise level, and use ear protection when appropriate.
The study, recently presented at an American Otologic Society meeting, will be published in a future issue of Otology & Neurotology.
The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has more about noise-induced hearing loss.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: House Research Institute, news release, May 21, 2012
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