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New iPod listening study shows surprising behavior of teens
Date:2/18/2009

A new study involving iPods and teenagers by the University of Colorado at Boulder and Children's Hospital Boston indicates teenagers who receive pressure from their peers or others to turn down the volume of their iPods instead turn them up higher.

The study also showed that teen boys listen louder than teen girls, and teens who express the most concern about the risk for and severity of hearing loss from iPods actually play their music at higher levels than their peers, said CU-Boulder audiologist and doctoral candidate Cory Portnuff, who headed up the study. Such behaviors put teens at an increased risk of music-induced hearing loss, he said.

The results of the study, conducted by Portnuff and Associate Professor Kathryn Arehart of CU-Boulder's speech, language and hearing sciences department and Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children's Hospital Boston, were presented at the annual Hearing Conservation Conference held in Atlanta last week. Children's Hospital Boston is the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Other findings from the study indicated teens play their music louder than young adults, and teens may inaccurately perceive how loud they are playing their music. The good news, said Portnuff, is that teens in the study who understand the benefits of listening at a lower volume have less of a risk for hearing loss.

"We really don't a have good explanation for why teens concerned about the hearing loss risk actually play their music louder than others," he said. "But we do know that teens who knew what the benefits were of listening at lower levels had less hearing loss risk, which is why we believe targeted education is the key."

Portnuff said the new study indicated a relatively small percentage of teens -- somewhere between 7 and 24 percent -- listen to their iPods and MP3 players at risky levels. "We don't seem to be at an epidemic level for hearing loss from music players
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Contact: Cory Portnuff
cory.portnuff@colorado.edu
303-579-5297
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

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