Medical Mysteries of Music

Published on August 5th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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They’ve Turned Down the Music: Hearing Impairment Rate Among Teens is Dropping

First, the bad news. An alarming number of young people are still losing some of their hearing as the result of loud music pumped in through headphones. The good news? The numbers are trending downward.

The results of a new study published in Journal of American Medicine Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery (how’s that for a name of a magazine?) seems to indicate that more teens are taking more care on their ears with sound pressure levels.

After analyzing thousands of teens over twenty years, the researchers discovered that the rate of moderate hearing loss hit 22.5% of 12-19 year-0lds in 2007 and 2008, a jump from 17% between 1988 and 1994. However

However, the last survey period (2009-10) saw the rate drop to around 15%. What caused the decline? Education. Better headphone listening hygiene. Parents insisting that young kids wear hearing protection in higher volume environments.

The best news is the message that volume-induced hearing loss is real and irreversible seems to be sinking in.

More details here.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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