About this project
A growing body of research indicates that listening to personal listening devices at high volumes and for a long period of time, increases the risk of hearing problems such as tinnitus, sound sensitivity and hearing loss. Children and youth have been pinpointed as an especially vulnerable group because of their risky listening habits. This conclusion is however often based on results from cross-sectional studies. Only a few longitudinal studies have been conducted, often with small samples and large drop-outs. In most studies the measurement of sound levels and degree of exposure is imprecise since it often is based on self-reports.
The aim of the planned research project is to longitudinally investigate how long-term exposure to loud music affects hearing function among a sample of approximately 460 children and adolescents aged 10-15 years of age. Hearing function and exposure to loud music is measured at baseline year one with a follow-up at year three. Establishing a database enable later analyses of even longer-term effects of music listening. Data on listening habits (frequency and exposure time) will be collected as well as measured output levels in the participants' own ear buds and listening devices, which will be linked to clinical measurement of hearing function. The analysis account for moderating factors such as previous noise exposure, noise-related risk-taking behaviour, gender, age of listening debut, and socio-economic background. By measuring additional psychological variables identified in the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model, underlying mechanisms to listening behaviour can be better understood, which is crucial for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. To be able to get additional knowledge about why children and adolescents listen to risky sound levels, we need to understand what meaning music have to the adolescents themselves. Therefore, we will do interviews in focus groups with approximately 30 adolescents.