According to a study, researchers examined that Portable music player (PMP) use may be associated with a high-frequency hearing loss in children. The magnitude and effect of frequent music exposure, especially at younger ages, on hearing are unclear. The study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study within an ongoing prospective birth cohort study. A total of 5,355 children underwent their first audiometric evaluation between ages 9 and 11 years. The final sample included 3,116 children (mean age, 9.7 years). Parental questionnaires were used to assess PMP use and sociodemographic factors.

High-frequency Hearing loss

The researchers found that 39.9% of the sample reported no PMP use and 18.5 and 8.2% reported using one or two and three or more days per week, respectively; PMP use was not reported for 33.4%. Overall, 14.2% of all children had audiometric notches and high-frequency hearing loss; 4.5, 7.6, and 2.1 percent fulfilled the criteria of a notch, high-frequency hearing loss, and both, respectively.

A total of 1.7% of the cohort showed bilateral impairment. Overall, 11.3% of the respondents reported hearing-related symptoms, and 40 percent of respondents used PMPs. There was a correlation for PMP use with the high-frequency hearing loss (odds ratios, 2.88 and 2.74 for one or two and three or more days per week, respectively); listening time and duration were not associated with high-frequency hearing loss.

Repeated measurements are needed to confirm the association of portable music player use with hearing impairment in children.

In this study, 14.2% of school-aged children showed audiometric notches or high-frequency hearing loss. This hearing impairment is already present prior to exposure to known noise hazards, such as club and concert attendance, and may have lifelong consequences. Repeated measurements are needed to confirm the association of portable music player use with hearing impairment in children.