Back to School at
Home > School and Learning > By Subject > Science and Health > Human Biology > Listen Up! Teen Hearing Loss Is on the Rise

Listen Up! Teen Hearing Loss Is on the Rise

Next time you can hear your teen's music blasting from his earphones, ask him how soon he would like to wear a hearing aid.

That may sound extreme, but a new study published in the August 18, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that one in five U.S. teens has some level of hearing loss, most likely due to the loud music they listen to on their iPods or other personal music players.

The researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed the hearing screenings of 1,800 12- to 19-year-olds from across the country and found that 19.5 percent had slight hearing loss, meaning they probably can't hear sounds like a whisper, rustling leaves, or a dripping faucet.

The study's findings mean that an estimated 6.5 million teens in the U.S. have some hearing loss, which could affect their learning and socialization in school and lead to a need for hearing aids early in life.

Big Problem, Low Priority

Teens have been playing music at high volumes for decades, but hearing loss has increased by 30 percent compared to the 1980s and '90s, according to studies. Experts suspect that the long battery life of today's music players and increased obsession with media gadgets is contributing to the issue.

Another study indicated that most young people have experienced ringing in their ears after a loud concert or night out at a club, but they ranked hearing loss as a low health concern.

It's an invisible problem, and the public isn't highly aware of the educational, social, and psychological issues that come with hearing loss, especially in children and adolescents. Kids may not be able to hear their teachers in the classroom or their friends in the lunchroom, and both can affect their development and self-esteem.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!