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Headphone Listening Habits and Hearing Thresholds in Swedish Adolescents

Journal article
Authors S. E. Widen
S. Basjo
C. Moller
Kim R. Kähäri
Published in Noise & Health
Volume 19
Issue 88
Pages 125-132
ISSN 1463-1741
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 125-132
Language en
Keywords Adolescents, headphones, hearing symptoms, hearing thresholds, listening habits, portable music listening devices, noise exposure, music exposure, players, adults, risk, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology, Public, Environmental &, Occupational Health
Subject categories Neurology


Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate self-reported hearing and portable music listening habits, measured hearing function and music exposure levels in Swedish adolescents. The study was divided into two parts. Materials and Methods: The first part included 280 adolescents, who were 17 years of age and focused on self-reported data on subjective hearing problems and listening habits regarding portable music players. From this group, 50 adolescents volunteered to participate in Part II of the study, which focused on audiological measurements and measured listening volume. Results: The results indicated that longer lifetime exposure in years and increased listening frequency were associated with poorer hearing thresholds and more self-reported hearing problems. A tendency was found for listening to louder volumes and poorer hearing thresholds. Women reported more subjective hearing problems compared with men but exhibited better hearing thresholds. In contrast, men reported more use of personal music devices, and they listen at higher volumes. Discussion: Additionally, the study shows that adolescents listening for >= 3 h at every occasion more likely had tinnitus. Those listening at >= 85 dB L-Aeq,L- FF and listening every day exhibited poorer mean hearing thresholds, reported more subjective hearing problems and listened more frequently in school and while sleeping. Conclusion: Although the vast majority listened at moderate sound levels and for shorter periods of time, the study also indicates that there is a subgroup (10%) that listens between 90 and 100 dB for longer periods of time, even during sleep. This group might be at risk for developing future noise-induced hearing impairments.

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