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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 29  |  Page : 41--42

Noise-induced hearing loss in young people

Robert L Folmer 

Correspondence Address:
Robert L Folmer

How to cite this article:
Folmer RL. Noise-induced hearing loss in young people.Noise Health 2005;7:41-42

How to cite this URL:
Folmer RL. Noise-induced hearing loss in young people. Noise Health [serial online] 2005 [cited 2022 May 27 ];7:41-42
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The excellent article by Chung et al [1] concluded that 61% of the young people who responded to their Web-based survey experienced tinnitus or hearing loss as a result of attending loud music concerts. Also, 43% of the respondents experienced these auditory symptoms after exposure to loud music in clubs. However, only 14% of the respondents ever wore ear plugs at a venue in which loud music was played. Fortunately, a majority of the respondents (66%) could be motivated to try hearing protection if they knew that limited exposure to very loud music can permanently damage hearing. Most respondents (59%) were also more likely to use ear plugs if a doctor or nurse recommended hearing protection.

The study highlights the following facts about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and hearing-loss prevention: (1) young people are often exposed to hazardous levels of sound (in addition to loud music, such levels can be produced by, eg, power tools, gunfire, loud machinery or engines); (2) exposure to excessively loud sounds can result in hearing loss and tinnitus; (3) people are often unaware of the consequences of excessive sound exposure; and (4) when people become aware of these consequences, they are more willing to take steps to protect themselves against NIHL and tinnitus. Colleagues and I agree with numerous experts that, over the last 30 years, have recommended the implementation of hearing-loss-prevention education in schools. [2],[3] Unfortunately, basic hearing-conservation information (which could prevent many cases of NIHL) remains conspicuously absent from most school curricula. We identified the following reasons for this omission: (1) lack of public awareness about how excessive sound exposure damages hearing and the consequences of hearing loss; (2) lack of effective dissemination of existing hearing-conservation programs, curricula and materials; and (3) lack of a mandate from local and state school boards and state or federal health agencies.

Healthy People 2010 [4] lists the following objectives for hearing: "Increase the use of appropriate ear protection devices, equipment and practices; reduce noise-induced hearing loss in children and adolescents aged 17 years and under; reduce adult hearing loss in the noise-exposed public." A public health campaign should be waged to accomplish these objectives. A good place to start would be for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add NIHL to its list of "important health topics" within its Healthy Youth! program. [5] This would facilitate implementation of hearing-loss-prevention education in our nation's schools. Eventually, such programs would help to reduce the prevalence of NIHL, a potentially debilitating condition that is almost entirely preventable. [6]


1Chung JH, Des Roches CM, Meunier J, Eavey RD. Evaluation of noise-induced hearing loss in young people using a web-based survey technique. Pediatrics 2005;115:861-7.
2Folmer RL, Griest SE, Martin WH. Hearing conservation education programs for children: A review. J Sch Health 2002;72:51-7.
3Folmer RL. Why aren't hearing conservation practices taught in schools? 2004. Available from: [Last accessed on 2005 Oct 29].
4US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. 2 nd ed. US Government Printing Office: Washington, DC; 2000. Available from: [Last accessed 2005 Oct 29].
5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy Youth! Health topics. 2005. Available from: [Last accessed 2005 Oct 29].
6Dobie RA. Prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1995;121:385-91.