Association between portable music player use and risk of hearing loss


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Reuters Health recently reported on the results of a study carried out in the Netherlands that showed that children who listen to music through headphones may have a greater risk of noise-related hearing loss.

The researchers, from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University Medical Center, published their findings in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in June. They carried out a cross-sectional study within an ongoing, prospective, birth cohort. In this cohort, over 5,000 children underwent their first audiometric evaluation between ages 9 and 11 years. To obtain the data needed for the analysis, the team collected information on portable music player use and sociodemographic factors through parental questionnaires.

A total of 3,116 participants with a mean age of 9.7 years were included in the study, and the gender ratio was equal. As part of data collection, the parents were asked about hearing complaints from their children, how often portable music players were used, and how high the volume was typically set at.

In all, 1,244 cases (39.9%) reported no PMP use, 577 (18.5%) reported use 1 or 2 days per week, 254 (8.2%) reported use 3 or more days per week, and lastly for 1,041 (33.4%) cases PMP use was not reported. Some degree of hearing loss was found in 443 children (14.2%). Portable music player use was associated with high-frequency hearing loss (odds ratio [OR] 2.88 for 1 or 2 days per week and OR 2.74 for more than or equal to 3 days per week). Interestingly, listening time and duration were not associated with hearing loss. “Although we cannot conclude from this study that music players caused these hearing losses, it shows that music exposure might influence hearing at a young age,” said lead study author Dr. Carlijn le Clercq.

Source: Reuters Health; le Clercq CMP, et al. Association Between Portable Music Player Use and Hearing Loss Among Children of School Age in the Netherlands. JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 2018 Jun 14.