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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 100  |  Page : 116--124

Headphones and other risk factors for hearing in young adults

1 School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
2 School of Social Work, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
John Parsons
School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-1518
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_35_19

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Background: Personal listening device (PLD) use with headphones is increasing in young adults and in most listening environments occur in background noise. Headphone choice can be important because certain headphones are more effective in limiting background noise than stock earbuds. Binge drinking, marijuana, and hard drug use have also been associated with high-volume PLD use. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between preferred headphone type, listening level, and other health risk behaviors. Methods: Two-hundred and twenty undergraduates were recruited and completed a PLD use and risk behavior survey. Survey data included self-reported alcohol and marijuana use. Bilateral otoscopy, tympanometry, and pure-tone threshold testing (0.25–8 kHz) were completed. Participants listened to one hour of music using preferred headphone type with a probe microphone in the ear canal to measure equivalent continuous sound level (LAeq). Results: Mean LAeq was similar for the three types of headphones used. Participants who reported higher amounts of drinks per month and smoking marijuana within the last month had significantly higher LAeq levels than those who reported lower amounts of drinks per month and not smoking marijuana in the last month. There was no significant interaction between headphone type and reported drinks per month or marijuana use. Conclusion: Young adults with normal hearing who have higher preferred listening levels also reported more alcohol and marijuana use, although headphone type was not associated with any of these variables.


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