21 April 2005

Young people ignorant of dangers from loud music

Most youngsters do not believe hearing loss to be a serious problem even though 6 in 10 have experienced ringing in their ears or other hearing problems following a concert.

Almost 10,000 young respondents took part in an online survey conducted on the MTV web site.

Only about 8 percent stated that they consider hearing loss as a very big problem, while 18 percent found acne to be the number one problem and 45 percent judged smoking to be a very serious problem.

"Hearing issues are practically off the radar screen", Dr. Roland Eavey of Harvard Medical School, the head of the survey, told forbes.com.

Few use earplugs
Although a set of earplugs can make a big difference when going to a concert, nightclub or other places with loud music, just a small minority of young people choose to use them, even though loud music can damage their hearing for life.

Only 14 percent have tried to protect their ears in places of extreme noise even though 61 percent have experienced hearing problems following concerts and 43 percent reported problems following nights out at discoteques and nightclubs.

"We have to find ways to make kids understand they can rock on - and keep their hearing, too", explained Dr. David L. Katz of the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Lack of awareness
According to the young people, their poor use of earplugs is due to their lack of awareness of the dangers to their hearing from loud music and noise. Two in three stated that they would have considered using earplugs if only they had known about the risk.

In general, the youngsters know little about hearing and hearing loss. 16 percent stated they had heard about hearing loss before the MTV survey, and only 9 percent said they had heard about it in school.

Sources: Pediatrics vol. 115, 4 April, 2005 & www.forbes.com, 5 April 2005.

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