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Children and teenagers at risk for noise-induced hearing loss, warn America's ENT doctors
Date:4/30/2009

(Alexandria, VA) Children and teenagers are frequently exposed to potentially damaging noise levels in schools, at home, and in sports, but there has been little reported on their risk for noise-induced hearing loss. In fact, three million children under the age of 18 have some hearing loss, and one factor is external noises.

A recent survey by the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (AAO - HNS), which represents ear, nose and throat doctors, found that 4 in 5 Americans are concerned about hearing loss due to ear buds. The survey showed that hearing loss is a top medical concern among parents, higher than concerns about asthma, food allergies, or exposure to tobacco smoke. More than 90 percent of parents are very concerned about hearing loss in their children.

Nationwide, 10 million Americans suffer from irreversible noise-induced hearing loss, with 30 million more exposed to dangerous noise levels each day. For children and teenagers, one of the simplest and most preventable ways that they can acquire noise-induced hearing loss is by listening to loud music.

"It's important to be aware of the intensity of sound around you in order to protect your hearing," said Marcella Bothwell, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist--head and neck surgeon at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, CA, and chair of the AAO-HNS Board of Governors public relations committee. "Children and teenagers are not always able to recognize when surrounding noises have reached dangerous levels, and that's why parents and caretakers need to be aware, in order to teach them how to avoid permanent damage."

In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month, which is celebrated in May, the AAO-HNS recommends these tips to ensure that parents know how to protect their families from noise-induced hearing loss:

Encourage your children to take breaks from long periods of listening to music. Give your child ear plugs or ear muffs if
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
newsroom@entnet.org
703-535-3762
American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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