17% of the adolescents in a Korean study had at least some form of hearing loss.

About 17% of Korean adolescents exhibited at least slight hearing loss, a study finds. The prevalence rates of speech-frequency hearing loss and high-frequency hearing loss in the poorer ear were 11.6% and 10.3%, respectively, among Korean adolescents.

17.2% of the adolescents in the study exhibited either a speech-frequency hearing loss, a high-frequency hearing loss or both.

A speech-frequency hearing loss was considered present when the pure tone averages (PTAs) at 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz were 15 dB and a high-frequency hearing loss was considered present when the PTAs at 3, 4, 6 and 8 kHz were 15 dB.

In the Korean study, a total of 2,879 nationally representative adolescents in their first years of middle- and high school underwent audiometric testing and otological examinations and completed questionnaires between June and December 2016.

The purpose of study was to investigate the prevalence of hearing loss in students attending general middle- and high schools and to identify factors affecting hearing loss prevalence.

Leisure noise exposure

The use of local area network (LAN) gaming centres and an experience of being asked by others to lower earphone volume were associated with both speech-frequency hearing loss and high-frequency hearing loss. It is important to avoid excessive leisure noise exposure to prevent adolescent hearing loss, the authors of the study state.

Additionally, the study also found that both speech-frequency hearing loss and high-frequency hearing loss in the poorer ear were associated with lower academic performance.

The study, “Hearing loss in Korean adolescents: The prevalence thereof and its association with leisure noise exposure”, was published in the journal PLOS ON.

Source: PLOS ONE

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