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Can you hear me now? Loud headphone volumes putting teens at risk for hearing loss

June is National Safety Month, an annual campaign fronted by the National Safety Council to focus on reducing injury and promoting safety at work, on the road, and at home. In honor of National Safety Month, we’ll highlight some of our NPCH Reports that focus on safety in a variety of child health topics. This week we take a look at hearing loss in teens.

High-frequency hearing loss can be caused by listening to loud noise for long periods, or even by brief exposure to extremely loud sounds. More teens may be exposed to this type of hearing loss due to the growing popularity of personal, portable listening devices such as MP3 players.

In a 2011 NPCH Report, two-thirds of parents reported that they have not talked with their teens about hearing loss. Among those who had not discussed hearing loss, 78% said their teens were not at risk for this problem. About one-third of parents said they were aware of volume-limiting headphones and earbuds and over half of parents said they likely buy volume-limiting headphones or earbuds, but only about one-third thought their teens would be willing to use them.

A recent article by the CBC News highlights how loud headphones continue to put teens at risk for hearing damage. It is estimated that 1.1 billion teenagers are in danger of developing hearing loss due to unsafe volumes. The president of the Tinnitus Association of Quebec suggests keeping the volume to one-third the maximum level on devices. Additionally, if you can hold your headphones at arm’s length and still hear the sound, it is probably too loud.

What do you think?
Would you purchase volume-limiting headphones and earbuds for your children? Do you think they would use them? Share your thoughts in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.