HealthDay News — Portable music player (PMP) use may be associated with high-frequency hearing loss in children, according to a study published online June 14 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Carlijn M.P. le Clercq, MD, from the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study within an ongoing prospective birth cohort study. A total of 5,355 children underwent their first audiometric evaluation between ages 9 and 11 years. The final sample included 3,116 children (mean age, 9.7 years). Parental questionnaires were used to assess PMP use and sociodemographic factors.  

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The researchers found that 39.9% of the sample reported no PMP use and 18.5 and 8.2% reported use 1 or 2 and 3 or more days per week, respectively; PMP use was not reported for 33.4%. Overall, 14.2% of all children had audiometric notches and high-frequency hearing loss; 4.5, 7.6, and 2.1% fulfilled the criteria of a notch, high-frequency hearing loss, and both, respectively. A total of 1.7% of the cohort showed bilateral impairment. Overall, 11.3% of the respondents reported hearing-related symptoms, and 40% of respondents used PMPs. There was a correlation for PMP use with high-frequency hearing loss (odds ratios, 2.88 and 2.74 for 1 or 2 and 3 or more days per week, respectively); listening time and duration were not associated with high-frequency hearing loss.

“Repeated measurements are needed to confirm the association of portable music player use with hearing impairment in children,” the authors write.

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