According to a newly published study in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, children who listen to music through headphones may be at significantly greater risk of noise-related hearing loss.
Dutch researchers examined hearing test results from over 3,000 children, between the ages of 9 to 11. They also asked parents to report on hearing complaints from their children, how frequently their child used portable music players (including smartphones, tablets, etc) and how high the child typically sets the device volume.
Approximately 14 percent of the children studied were found to have at least some difficulty hearing in the high frequencies–suggesting possible noise related hearing damage.
Regardless of how long they wore headphones or how high they set the volume, kids who used portable music players just one or two days a week were more than twice as likely to have hearing loss as children who didn’t use the devices at all.
“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.”
—Dr. Carlijn le Clercq, lead study author
Approximately 40 percent of the children in the study had never used portable music players, about 19 percent used them once or twice a week, and about 8 percent used them at least three times weekly.
It was noted by the investigators that 9 in 10 children and teens today are using some form of portable music player, typically a smartphone or tablet — either for educational or recreational use.