iPod Danger: Is Loud Music Making Us Deaf?

A grandfather and his granddaughter smiling and listening to headphonesCan you hear me now? Apparently many cannot.

The National Institutes of Health says that about 36 million Americans already have some degree of hearing loss. With the population aging, that number is projected to jump to 78 million by 2030.

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The issue is particularly problematic for children and teens. Audiologists at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt said long-term hearing loss is possible because of the proliferation of smartphones, portable gaming systems and media players. According to a Vanderbilt-led study, hearing loss is now affecting 20 percent of U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 19, a 5 percent increase over the past 15 years.