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J Otolaryngol. 2007 Jun;36(3):181-5.

Risk of damage to hearing from personal listening devices in young adults.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China.



To investigate the effects of personal listening device use on hearing in young listeners.


Conventional frequency audiometry (0.5-8 kHz) and extended high-frequency audiometry (10-20 kHz) were performed on 120 personal listening device users and 30 normal-hearing young adults.


The hearing thresholds in the 3 to 8 kHz frequency range were significantly increased in the personal listening device listeners. The frequency range of the increased thresholds became broad as the exposure duration was increased. Impaired hearing was detected in 14.1% (34 of 240 ears) of ears (> 25 dB HL in one or more frequencies in 0.5-8 kHz). The hearing thresholds of extended high-frequency audiometry in personal listening device users could also be increased even if their hearing thresholds in conventional frequency audiometry were normal.


Our results suggest that long-term use of personal listening devices can impair hearing function The data also indicate that extended high-frequency audiometry is a sensitive method for early detection of noise-induced hearing loss.

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