Adolescents risky MP3-player listening and its psychosocial correlates
Analogue to occupational noise-induced hearing loss, MP3-induced hearing loss may be evolving into a significant social and public health problem. To inform prevention strategies and interventions, this study investigated correlates of adolescents' risky MP3-player listening behavior primarily informed by protection motivation theory. We invited 1687 adolescents (12- to 19-year old) of Dutch secondary schools to complete questionnaires about their MP3-player listening, sociodemographic characteristics and presumed psychosocial determinants of MP3-player listening. Of all participants, 90% reported listening to music through earphones on MP3 players; 28.6% were categorized as listeners at risk for hearing loss due to estimated exposure of 89 dBA for ≥1 hour per day. Compared with listeners not at risk for hearing loss, listeners at risk were more likely not to live with both parents, to experience rewards of listening to high-volume levels, to report a high habit strength related to risky MP3 listening, and were less likely to be motivated to protect their hearing. Habit strength was the strongest correlate of risky listening behavior, suggesting that voluntary behavior change among adolescents might be difficult to achieve and that a multiple strategy approach may be needed to prevent MP3-induced hearing loss.