You can hear your mom…right son?

How many times a day do you say something to your child, only to have them appear totally oblivious to the fact that words are coming out of your mouth? Ten times a day?

Well, your kid may have a valid excuse — or not. It turns out one in every five teenagers in the  United States has a slight hearing loss. The proportion of teens with slight hearing loss has jumped 30 percent in the past 15 years. I know what you’re thinking. It must be because of that LOUD music they listen to. You’re right, sort of.

There’s some speculation the hearing loss is tied to the increased use of headsets on iPods and other personal music devices, says a new report by The Journal of the American Medical Association. Males are more likely than females to suffer hearing loss, as are teens living below the poverty line.  Unlike other types of hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented.

“We need teenagers to get the message to turn down the volume in their MP3 players and other electronic devices because there are no early warning signs,” says Dr. John House.

He recommends getting your teen’s hearing tested if you suspect something’s up.

Here are a few additional suggestions:

  • Encourage your child to turn down the volume and take frequent breaks when listening to his iPod.
  •  Consider purchasing noise-reducing ear buds to drown out background noise that otherwise can lead teens to boost the volume on their music players. Also, opt for headphones that cover the ear rather than the earbud-style earphones that come with many players.
  • At concerts or performances, tell your teen to move away from on-stage monitors or amplifiers so they are not directly in front of the speaker.
  • Apple offers an app that lets people set an upper limit on noise


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