According a recent study of US national health data, most teens today do not hear as well as their Gen-X counterparts.
Teenagers with hearing loss (and we do not mean simply ignoring your parents) grew by a third between between 1988-1994 and 2005-2006. Back when Guns n’ Roses were in heavy rotation on teen Walkmans, 15% of 12-19 year-olds suffered some kind of hearing impairment, now that percentage is 19.5%.
But for once, iPods are not found to blame. A team who studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and published findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that loud music pumped through Apple earbuds may not be the main cause of impaired teen hearing.
Other salient factors that may lead to hearing loss in young people include diet, nutrition and environmental factors such as exposure to toxins. Poverty also plays a role, researchers found that kids in lower-income families without adequate nutrition may have problems in auditory system development. Children who grow up living below the federal poverty threshold had significantly higher odds of hearing loss than those living above it.
The iPod has been accused of hearing loss off and on since its 2001 debut. Since 2007, the iPods come with volume limits that can be set (and locked) by parents concerned about hearing loss.
This probably won’t be the first or last time Apple’s portable MP3 player is implicated in hearing loss or impairment, but it’s interesting to hear that for once it’s not being blamed.
Sources: Journal of The American Medical Association, Apple, Time