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Hearing Loss Rising Among Teen Girls, Study Finds
Date:12/28/2010

study participants revealed that their overall exposure to loud noise and/or their use of headphones for music-listening had rocketed up, from just under 20 percent in the late 1980s and early 1990s to nearly 35 percent of adolescents in 2005-2006.

But increased headphone-use, the authors noted, did not appear to be the underlying cause of the increase in hearing loss among teen girls.

Instead, the authors noted that by 2005-2006 girls appeared to be experiencing similar amounts of exposure to recreational noise as boys, while being less likely to use hearing protection.

The authors also speculated that the rise in hearing loss among girls could, in large measure, reflect an increased exposure to factors not included in the survey -- the extremely loud music often found in club or music concert settings.

So what's your average club-going American teen to do?

"Use protection," advised Henderson. "I mean, when she's on stage Lady Gaga definitely has some kind of ear block in her ear to protect herself, so why shouldn't her fans? Clear noise blockers put in the ear lower the decibel that you are exposed to in that environment. And in terms of headphones, I would say kids should get the ones that have sound-blocking capabilities. The ones that muffle outside noise, so you don't have to crank up the volume to the max when you're listening to music."

For his part, Dr. Donald G. Keamy, a Boston-based surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, as well as an instructor in the departments of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School, expressed little surprise with the findings.

"Certainly the rise of iPods and other devices of that sort is a factor, since everyone's using them," he suggested. "But with regard to concerts, there have been other studies that have measured someone's hearing before and after a concert, and found that right after there is a temporary loss -- which implies that there's acoustic damage to th
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