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Portable music players may affect hearing loss in schoolchildren

Tuesday 19th June 2018
A new study from the Netherlands has indicated that portable music players may be a contributor to hearing loss among school-age children.
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New research has indicated that the extended use of portable music players may increase the risk of hearing loss in school-age children.

A team from the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam analysed data from 3,116 children aged nine to 11 years old in the Netherlands to assess the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss, as well as to determine whether these trends could be associated with portable music player use or other sociodemographic factors.

Overall, it was shown that 14.2 per cent of the children surveyed showed audiometric notches or high-frequency hearing loss; moreover, children who listened to portable music players were shown to be nearly three times as likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss than those who did not.

This is a potentially significant finding, as this was one of the first large population-based studies to show an association between music player use and high-frequency hearing loss among school-age children.

Of concern is the fact that this hearing damage is happening long before children reach the point in life when they are likely to be exposed to other common sources of loud noise, such as club and concert attendance.

In an interview with Gizmodo, lead author Carlijn le Clercq, an otolaryngologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center, said: "Firstly, children of nine to 11 years old today grow up with portable electronic devices integrated more and more in daily life, further increasing the chance of large exposure; for instance, tablets are now commonly used for educational purposes in schools

"Secondly, the children of our cohort have aged a few years since this study. In case a dose effect would be present, their exposure have increased as well."

Written by James Puckle

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