Researchers at Harvard University found that one in five US teens now has some form of hearing loss, and this figure has been rising for the last decade. The study, published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, says listening to loud music is one of the key factors in this increase.
While most teens like to listen to music regularly, and many do so at a high volume, those who regularly participate in band activities are said to be most at risk. Newspaper the Lance recently conducted a field test, and found that many student musicians are exposed to sounds measured at between 90 and 100 decibels, with those located near trumpets and percussion experiencing the loudest noises.
Regular exposure to such loud noises through regular practising and performing can damage the delicate components of the inner ear and cause hearing loss. One 16-year-old student is already dealing with tinnitus because of his exposure to loud music, and has to regularly use earplugs.
He explained: "The more exposure I have to loud sound, the worse (my tinnitus) gets. It's actually worse in my left ear than it is in my right. I get this really weird off-balance feeling when I'm in a silent room, one ear will ring louder than the other. It's a really annoying feeling."