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Noise Health. 2008 Jan-Mar;10(38):1-10.

Auditory lifestyles and beliefs related to hearing loss among college students in the USA.

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  • 1Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown WV 26505, USA.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the auditory life styles and beliefs of college students with reference to exposure to loud sounds in the context of the health belief model. A survey was administered to 238 (40 men, 198 women) students in the USA. Results suggest that 44% of the students use noisy equipment without ear protection and 29% (69/238) of the students work in noisy environments. Of the 69 who worked in noisy surroundings, only ten reported wearing hearing protection devices although 50 (72.46%) reported tinnitus. The use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) was associated with previous experience with hearing loss and tinnitus. Although 75% of the students were aware that exposure to loud sounds could cause hearing loss, 50% of the students appeared to be exposing themselves to potentially harmful loud music. Furthermore, 46% of the students reported not using HPDs during loud musical activities because they felt that the music was difficult to hear with HPDs. Most students in this study considered hearing loss to be serious but 76% of the students believed that they would not lose their hearing until a greater age. Although 66% of the students had experienced tinnitus, 58% of these students reported not being concerned about it. These results suggest a critical need for promoting healthy hearing behavior among college students. Possible strategies could include improved education, experience with simulated hearing loss for extended periods and availability of cosmetically appealing or invisible HPDs with uniform attenuation across the frequency range.

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