What is the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss among children aged 9 to 11 years in the Netherlands?
In this cross-sectional, population-based study among 3316 children with normal middle-ear function, audiometry data showed the prevalence of audiometric notches and high-frequency hearing loss was 14.2%. Portable music players, used by 40.0% of the cohort, were associated with high-frequency hearing loss.
Signs of noise-induced hearing loss may already be present in children aged 9 to 11 years old and may be associated with portable music player use prior to exposure to known noise hazards, such as club and concert attendance.
Portable music player use may have harmful effects on hearing. The magnitude and effect of frequent music exposure, especially at younger ages, on hearing are unclear.
To examine the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in a 9- to 11-year-old population and associations with portable music player use and sociodemographic factors.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A cross-sectional study within an ongoing, prospective, birth cohort study within Rotterdam, the Netherlands was conducted. Between ages 9 and 11 years, 5355 children underwent their first audiometric evaluation. Children were excluded if they had missing or failed tympanometry results. The study was conducted from April 16, 2012, to October 25, 2015.
Portable music player (PMP) use and sociodemographic factors assessed via parental questionnaires.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Hearing acuity measured by pure-tone audiometry at 0.5 to 8 kHz. Possible noise-induced hearing loss was contingent on a high-frequency notch and/or high-frequency hearing loss in the audiogram, or reported hearing-related symptoms.
The final sample included 3116 participants who were a mean (interquartile range) age of 9.7 (9.6-9.9) years and equally distributed between boys (1550 [49.7%]) and girls (1566 [50.3%]). Of these, 1244 (39.9%) reported no PMP use, 577 (18.5%) reported use 1 or 2 days per week, 254 (8.2%) reported use 3 or more days per week, and for 1041 (33.4%), PMP use was not reported. Audiometric notches and high-frequency hearing loss were present in 443 (14.2%) of all children; 140 (4.5%) fulfilled the criteria of a notch, 238 (7.6%) of high-frequency hearing loss, and 65 (2.1%) of both. Of the cohort, 52 (1.7%) showed bilateral impairment. Hearing-related symptoms were reported for 232 (11.3%) of the respondents, and 831 (40.0%) of the respondents used portable music players. Portable music player use was associated with high-frequency hearing loss (odds ratio [OR], 2.88; 95% CI, 1.36-6.980 for 1 or 2 days per week and OR, 2.74; 95% CI, 1.22-6.96 for ≥3 days per week), but listening time and duration were not. There was no association of music exposure with high-frequency notches.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this study, 14.2% of school-aged children showed audiometric notches or high-frequency hearing loss. This hearing impairment is already present prior to exposure to known noise hazards, such as club and concert attendance, and may have lifelong consequences. Repeated measurements are needed to confirm the association of portable music player use with hearing impairment in children.
le Clercq CMP, Goedegebure A, Jaddoe VWV, Raat H, Baatenburg de Jong RJ, van der Schroeff MP. Association Between Portable Music Player Use and Hearing Loss Among Children of School Age in the Netherlands. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;144(8):668–675. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0646
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