College students’ hearing loss is higher than expected, suggests a study published in the International Journal of Audiology.
Profiling the study, US News and World Report says that 1 in 4 students have lost some hearing, and the culprit may be personal music players such as MP3 players.
56 students gave a self-assessment and underwent hearing tests, with one quarter of those who thought they did not have hearing loss shown to have lost at least 15 decibels. Of those, 7 percent had lost 25 decibels or more, an amount that is clinically diagnosed as hearing loss.
The researchers in the University of Florida study were surprised by the findings. “You would expect normal hearing in that population,” said lead researcher Colleen Le Prell, an associate professor in the department of speech, language and hearing sciences. “The criteria for normal hearing we used for the study were, we thought, extremely liberal criteria.”
The range of frequencies associated with the hearing loss displayed by students is important for speech recognition, leading to concerns about the impact on students’ ability to learn in class.