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Hearing thresholds, tinnitus, and headphone listening habits in nine-year-old children

Journal article
Authors S. Basjo
C. Moller
S. Widen
G. Jutengren
Kim R. Kähäri
Published in International Journal of Audiology
Volume 55
Issue 10
Pages 587-596
ISSN 1499-2027
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 587-596
Language en
Keywords Children, hearing loss, hearing threshold, listening habits, portable music players, SOAE, tinnitus, nutrition examination survey, 3rd national-health, otitis-media, otoacoustic emissions, audiometric thresholds, reading performance, young-adults, school-age, adolescents, prevalence, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology, Otorhinolaryngology
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Objective: Investigate hearing function and headphone listening habits in nine-year-old Swedish children. Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted and included otoscopy, tympanometry, pure-tone audiometry, and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAE). A questionnaire was used to evaluate headphone listening habits, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. Study sample: A total of 415 children aged nine years. Results: The prevalence of a hearing threshold20dB HL at one or several frequencies was 53%, and the hearing thresholds at 6 and 8kHz were higher than those at the low and mid frequencies. SOAEs were observed in 35% of the children, and the prevalence of tinnitus was 5.3%. No significant relationship between SOAE and tinnitus was found. Pure-tone audiometry showed poorer hearing thresholds in children with tinnitus and in children who regularly listened with headphones. Conclusion: The present study of hearing, listening habits, and tinnitus in nine-year old children is, to our knowledge, the largest study so far. The main findings were that hearing thresholds in the right ear were poorer in children who used headphones than in children not using them, which could be interpreted as headphone listening may have negative consequences to children's hearing. Children with tinnitus showed poorer hearing thresholds compared to children without tinnitus.

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