Few parents believe their teens are at risk of hearing loss

November 22, 2013
Few parents believe their teens are at risk of hearing loss

(HealthDay)—Few parents of adolescents believe their children are at risk of hearing loss, according to a study published online Nov. 21 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Deepa L. Sekhar, M.D., from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional Internet-based survey of a nationally representative online sample of 716 parents of 13- to 17-year-olds to determine parental knowledge of adolescent hearing loss.

The researchers found that 96.3 percent of parents reported that their adolescent was slightly or not at risk of hearing problems from excessive noise. Sixty-nine percent of parents had not discussed noise exposure with their teenager, primarily because of the perceived low risk. More than 65.0 percent of parents reported being willing or very willing to consider limiting time listening to music, limiting access to excessively noisy situations, or insisting on the use of hearing protection to protect their ' hearing. Increased odds of promoting hearing-protective strategies were seen with higher parental education. For older adolescents, parents were less likely to insist on hearing protection. Discussing hearing loss was more likely among parents who understood that both volume and time of exposure affect hearing damage (odds ratio [OR], 1.98) and for those who were very willing or willing to limit time listening to music (OR, 1.88) and to insist on hearing protection (OR, 1.92).

"To create effective conservation programs, need better education on this subject as well as effective and acceptable strategies to prevent adolescent noise exposure," the authors write.

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