Hearing loss on the rise among teens: study

The number of adolescents suffering hearing loss increased significantly during 1988-1994 and 2005-2006, indicates a study released this week from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

According to a study abstract, researchers relied on data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and NHANES 2005-2006 for the study. The more recent data showed that 6.5 million teens 12-19 years old suffered some degree of hearing loss. That figure represents 19.5 percent of all teens -- a 31 percent increase over NHANES III data.

Researchers said certain risk factors, such as listening to loud music, may be of particular importance regarding adolescents.

Although the majority of the impairments were slight, the prevalence of mild or worse hearing loss rose even more sharply, with data indicating a 77 percent increase in hearing loss between the two studied time periods. Males and individuals who fall below the poverty line were most likely to suffer hearing loss.

The study was published in the August 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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