IMPORTANCE Portable music player use may have harmful effects on hearing. The magnitude and effect of frequent music exposure, especially at younger ages, on hearing are unclear. OBJECTIVES To examine the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in a 9- to 11-year-old population and associations with portable music player use and sociodemographic factors. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A cross-sectional study within an ongoing, prospective, birth cohort study within Rotterdam, the Netherlands was conducted. Between ages 9 and 11 years, 5355 children underwent their first audiometric evaluation. Children were excluded if they had missing or failed tympanometry results. The study was conducted from April 16, 2012, to October 25, 2015. EXPOSURES Portable music player (PMP) use and sociodemographic factors assessed via parental questionnaires. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Hearing acuity measured by pure-tone audiometry at 0.5 to 8 kHz. Possible noise-induced hearing loss was contingent on a high-frequency notch and/or high-frequency hearing loss in the audiogram, or reported hearing-related symptoms. RESULTS The final sample included 3116 participants who were a mean (interquartile range) age of 9.7 (9.6-9.9) years and equally distributed between boys (1550 [49.7%]) and girls (1566 [50.3%]). Of these, 1244 (39.9%) reported no PMP use, 577 (18.5%) reported use 1 or 2 days per week, 254 (8.2%) reported use 3 or more days per week, and for 1041 (33.4%), PMP use was not reported. Audiometric notches and high-frequency hearing loss were present in 443 (14.2%) of all children; 140 (4.5%) fulfilled the criteria of a notch, 238 (7.6%) of high-frequency hearing loss, and 65 (2.1%) of both. Of the cohort, 52 (1.7%) showed bilateral impairment. Hearing-related symptoms were reported for 232 (11.3%) of the respondents, and 831 (40.0%) of the respondents used portable music players. Portable music player use was associated with high-frequency hearing loss (odds ratio [OR], 2.88; 95%CI, 1.36-6.980 for 1 or 2 days per week and OR, 2.74; 95%CI, 1.22-6.96 for 3 days per week), but listening time and duration were not. There was no association of music exposure with high-frequency notches. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE 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.

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Journal JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
le Clercq, C.M.P, Goedegebure, A, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Raat, H, de Jong, R.J.B, & van der Schroeff, M.P. (2018). Association between portable music player use and hearing loss among children of school age in the Netherlands. JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 144(8), 668–675. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0646