A small study house Research Institute revealed that 72% of adolescents reported reduced hearing after attending three hours. Type of hearing loss is usually subside within 48 hours, but if it happens repeatedly, hearing damage can develop, the study authors noted.
“The youth need to understand a good exposure to loud noise from concerts or personal listening devices can cause hearing loss,” lead study author Dr. M. Jennifer Derebery, House Clinic physician, said in an agency news release. “With some of the noise exposure of more than 85 decibels, tiny hair cells may cease to function and hearing loss may be permanent.”
How the study was conducted
For the study, researchers offered 29 free tickets to teen rock concert. All seats about 15 to 18 rows from the stage.
First, children are told how they can protect their hearing and are encouraged to use the foam ear plugs during the show. Only three chose to use it, the study authors noted.
Using a calibrated sound pressure meter, the researchers found the noise decibel level youth sitting (dBA) ranged from 82-110 dBA and 98.5 dBA average. Average greater than 100 dBA for 10 of the 26 songs played.
Derebery and colleagues noted that these levels exceed the safety standards in the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets time limits for exposure to noise levels of 85 dB or higher.
After the concert, many young people have had a significant reduction in distortion product otoacoustic emission test, which examines the function of the cells in the inner ear. These cells are very important for normal hearing and are most susceptible to damage from noise exposure.
Specifically, 53.6% of adolescents say they do not hear as well as they did before the concert, and 25% reported tinnitus, ring in ears.
Although cells usually recover, the researchers warn that repeated exposure to loud noise can damage hearing permanently.
More research is needed
The authors said more research is needed to determine whether adolescent ears are more sensitive to adult ears. Guidelines for noise exposure among adolescents may need to be updated, they added.
“It also means we really need to do more to ensure that the level of sound in this concert is not so strong as to cause neurological damage and hearing loss among adolescents, and adults,” said Derebery. “Only three of 29 young people we choose to use ear protection, even if it was given to them and they are encouraged to do so. We assume this is typical behavior for most young listeners, so we have a responsibility to get the sound level to a safer level. ‘
The researchers suggest that teens should take advantage of the “application” sound meter is available for smartphones, which provides an estimate of the level of noise around, and use ear protection when appropriate.
The study, recently American otologic Society meeting, will be published in a future issue of Otology & Neurotology.