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Turning up the volume on teens and hearing loss

If your teenager asked for earbuds, a smartphone, or an MP3 player this holiday season, chances are you’re not alone. But with the growing popularity of portable listening devices, teens may be at more risk than ever for noise-induced hearing loss – often caused by extended listening to loud noise.

In a December 2011 NPCH Report, we asked parents of teenagers whether they had talked to their teens about noise-induced hearing loss and what prompted those conversations. Among the parents who discussed hearing loss with their teens, 70% of those conversations were brought about because their teen was playing music too loudly. However, over two-thirds of parents said they had not talked with their teens about noise-induced hearing loss.

We also asked parents about volume-limiting headphones or earbuds that limit the volume listening devices can reach. Over half of parents said they’d be likely to purchase a pair of volume-limiting headphones for their teens, but only about a third of parents thought their teens would actually use them. Read the full report - Silent risk: Most parents and teens not talking about noise-induced hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss is not reversible, but it is preventable. It’s important that parents talk to their teens about hearing loss risks in order to keep them safe. And if your teen has an MP3 player at the top of their holiday wish list, consider replacing standard earbuds or headphones with a volume-limiting pair.

Parents, we want to hear from you! Have you talked with your teens about hearing loss? Share your experiences in the comments section.