Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Teen Hearing Loss: Girls Catch Up With Boys

    Study Shows Girls Now Have as Much Noise-Induced Hearing Loss as Boys
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    Dec. 27, 2010 -- Teenage girls now have as much noise-induced hearing loss as teenage boys, an analysis of U.S. data shows.

    From 1988 to 1994, hearing tests showed that 18.5% of teens had significant hearing loss by age 19. In 2005-2008, the hearing loss rate among 16- to 19-year-olds dropped to 17.7%, despite a large increase in the percentage of teens "listening to music with headphones" -- likely spurred by use of personal MP3 players.

    But while teen hearing loss decreased slightly among boys, it increased by more than 5% in girls. As of 2005-2008, 16.7% of girls and 17.7% of boys had hearing loss by age 19.

    This could mean that kids are simply listening to music at safe volumes, note study researchers Elisabeth Henderson and colleagues at Harvard University.

    On the other hand, it might not.

    Noise causes hearing loss by damaging the sensory hairs inside the cochlea of the ear. It's a cumulative process, and depends not just on noise volume but on how long a person is exposed to damaging levels of noise. And some people are much more vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss.

    So the damage from listening to loud MP3 players for long periods of time might not show up right away.

    "The accumulated effects of exposure [to too-loud music] may cause hearing deficits eventually," Henderson and colleagues suggest. "Noise-induced damage might not be evident by 12 to 19 years of age, but might become increasingly evident in the mid-20s."

    Henderson and colleagues report their findings in the January issue of Pediatrics.

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article