Increased hearing loss in adolescents

January 01, 0001

Increased hearing loss in adolescents

Hearing loss is common and, when in occurs in young persons, can have significant communicative and educational impacts. These US researchers examined the prevalence of hearing loss in US adolescents and determine whether it has changed over time. They performed a cross-sectional analyses comparing audiometric and demographic data of participants aged 12-19 years of age garnered from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988-1994 (n=2928), and NHANES 2005-2006 (n=1771). Logistic regression was used to calculate multivariate adjusted odds ratios (ORs).

The researchers found: "The prevalence of any hearing loss increased significantly from 14.9% in 1988-1994 to 19.5% in 2005-2006. In 2005-2006, hearing loss was more commonly unilateral (prevalence, 14.0% vs 11.1% in 1988- 1994) and involved the high frequencies (prevalence, 16.4% vs 12.8% in 1988- 1994). Individuals from families below the federal poverty threshold (prevalence, 23.6%) had significantly higher odds of hearing loss (multivariate adjusted OR, 1.60) than those above the threshold (prevalence, 18.45%).

The researchers concluded: "The prevalence of hearing loss among a sample of US adolescents aged 12 to 19 years was greater in 2005-2006 compared with 1988-1994."

This study demonstrates a disturbing trend in hearing loss in US adolescents, and although the cause is not demonstrated, raises further concern about the use of earbuds and noise exposure.

For the full abstract, click here.

JAMA 304(7):772-778, 18 August 2010
© 2010 American Medical Association
Change in Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adolescents. Josef Shargorodsky, Sharon G. Curhan, Gary C. Curhan, Roland Eavey.

Category: H. Ear. Keywords: hearing loss, adolescents, unilateral, high frequency, poverty, cross-sectional study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 3 September 2010

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