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Estimating adolescent risk for hearing loss based on data from a large school-based survey

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Author: Vogel, L. · Verschuure, H. · Ploeg, C.P.B. van der · Brug, J. · Raat, H.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:American Journal of Public Health, 6, 100, 1095-1100
Identifier: 352038
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.168690
Keywords: Health · Adult · Health survey · Noise injury · Adolescent · Cross-Sectional Studies · Female · Health Surveys · Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced · Hearing Tests · Humans · Male · MP3-Player · Music · Netherlands · Noise · Risk Factors · Schools · Young Adult


Objectives. We estimated whether and to what extent a group of adolescents were at risk of developing permanent hearing loss as a result of voluntary exposure to high-volume music, and we assessed whether such exposure was associated with hearing-related symptoms. Methods. In 2007, 1512 adolescents (aged 12-19 years) in Dutch secondary schools completed questionnaires about their music-listening behavior and whether they experienced hearing-related symptoms after listening to highvolume music. We used their self-reported data in conjunction with published average sound levels of music players, discotheques, and pop concerts to estimate their noise exposure, and we compared that exposure to our own "loosened" (i.e., less strict) version of current European safety standards for occupational noise exposure. Results. About half of the adolescents exceeded safety standards for occupational noise exposure. About one third of the respondents exceeded safety standards solely as a result of listening to MP3 players. Hearing symptoms that occurred after using an MP3 player or going to a discotheque were associated with exposure to high-volume music. Conclusions. Adolescents often exceeded current occupational safety standards for noise exposure, hiqhliqhtinq the need for specific safety standards for leisure-time noise exposure.