Hearing threshold of Korean adolescents associated with the use of personal music players

Yonsei Med J. 2009 Dec 31;50(6):771-6. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2009.50.6.771. Epub 2009 Dec 18.


Purpose: Hearing loss can lead to a number of disabilities and can reduce quality of life. Noise-induced hearing losses have become more common among adolescents due to increased exposure to personal music players. We, therefore, investigated the use of personal music player among Korean adolescents and the relationship between hearing threshold and usage pattern of portable music players.

Materials and methods: A total of 490 adolescents were interviewed personally regarding their use of portable music players, including the time and type of player and the type of headphone used. Pure tone audiometry was performed in each subject.

Results: Of the 490 subjects, 462 (94.3%) used personal music players and most of them have used the personal music player for 1-3 hours per day during 1-3 years. The most common type of portable music player was the MP3 player, and the most common type of headphone was the earphone (insert type). Significant elevations of hearing threshold were observed in males, in adolescents who had used portable music players for over 5 years, for those over 15 years in cumulative period and in those who had used earphones.

Conclusion: Portable music players can have a deleterious effect on hearing threshold in adolescents. To preserve hearing, adolescents should avoid using portable music players for long periods of time and should avoid using earphones.

Keywords: Hearing loss; adolescent.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Sex Distribution