Hispanics May Face Higher Risk for Hearing Loss from iPods, Other MP3 Players An ASHA press conference during the Miami Beach convention drew the media spotlight to the problem of higher usages of personal audio technology—and the potentially higher risk of hearing loss—among Hispanic teens and adults. Media generated at the press conference, which featured a panel of experts on noise-induced hearing loss, ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   December 01, 2006
Hispanics May Face Higher Risk for Hearing Loss from iPods, Other MP3 Players
Author Notes
  • Marat Moore, is the managing editor of The ASHA Leader.
    Marat Moore, is the managing editor of The ASHA Leader.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   December 01, 2006
Hispanics May Face Higher Risk for Hearing Loss from iPods, Other MP3 Players
The ASHA Leader, December 2006, Vol. 11, 3-17. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.11172006.3
The ASHA Leader, December 2006, Vol. 11, 3-17. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.11172006.3
An ASHA press conference during the Miami Beach convention drew the media spotlight to the problem of higher usages of personal audio technology—and the potentially higher risk of hearing loss—among Hispanic teens and adults. Media generated at the press conference, which featured a panel of experts on noise-induced hearing loss, has already reached more than 15 million people through broadcast and print coverage, most of it national in scope.
The higher risk of hearing loss was gleaned from an ASHA-commissioned poll. Through the poll, ASHA demonstrated its long-standing commitment to multicultural and international outreach, and its recognition of demographic trends affecting ASHA members. At 43 million, Hispanics comprise the nation’s largest minority and will represent nearly 25% of the U.S. population in 30 years.
“Personal audio technology has obvious cross-cultural and cross-border popularity,” ASHA President Alex Johnson said. “We are acting on our responsibility to get our message of safe usage out—especially now, on the eve of the holiday shopping season.”
The press conference was held to release the results of the poll, conducted by Zogby International, showing that Hispanic teens and adults in the United States report they are listening to popular iPod and other MP3 players for longer periods and at higher volumes than all teens and all adults. The new polling indicates that more than half of U.S. Hispanic teens typically play the iPod at very loud or somewhat loud volume levels, compared to 41% of all teens surveyed in similar ASHA-commissioned polling last winter.
This polling—the first of its kind—is the latest aspect of “America: Tuned In Today…But Tuned Out Tomorrow?,” a public education campaign ASHA launched at the beginning of 2006. The initiative encourages safe usage of personal audio technology, recommending safety measures such as keeping volume levels within the maximum safe limit of 85 dB and limiting listening time.
According to the poll, a “typical iPod session” lasted from one to four hours for 42% of U.S. Hispanic teens, compared with 30% of all teens who listen for that duration. In addition, 14% percent of Hispanic teens listen for four hours or more; for all teens, that figure is 11%.
In addition, although Hispanic adults in many cases are less likely than all adults in the United States to use personal audio technology, when they use it, they are more likely to use it less safely in general.
Nearly half of U.S. Hispanic adults report that they typically play the iPod very loud or somewhat loud, compared to 38% of all adults who were surveyed last winter, according to the poll results. Hispanic adults in the United States also may have a higher rate of hearing loss symptoms, although the cause of the symptoms is not established. For example, 30% of Hispanic adults report turning up the volume on their TV sets and radios—compared with 26% of all adults—and indicate that they are more likely to say “what” or “huh” during conversations, according to the Zogby study.
“Louder and longer is not an advisable way to use personal audio technology,” said Alina Paz, an audiologist and speech-language pathologist with Miami Dade County Public Schools. “Eventually, that increases the risk of noise-induced hearing loss, which is permanent.”
For complete information about the polling, visit ASHA’s Web site. Information about sound-isolating earphones can be found at a new special ASHA bilingual Web site for young children, parents, and educators, www.listentoyourbuds.org.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2006
Volume 11, Issue 17