Background: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common but preventable disability. The purpose of this study was to assess the understanding of NIHL in a community sample in the context of exposure to portable music players, including MP3 players, and personal hearing acuity as tested with the Welch Allyn Audioscope 3.
Methods: A cross-sectional convenience sample of 94 adults (18 to 65 years old) at a university recreation center completed an analysis of personal use of portable digital music players (MP3 players), concerns about hearing loss, and a 3-dB-level hearing test at 4 levels of speech frequency in a low ambient noise setting.
Results: The majority of participants (85%) were concerned about hearing loss, willing to protect their hearing with lower volume (77%), had little measurable hearing loss but were exposed to longer and louder periods of noise than other national samples, and mistakenly felt that NIHL is a medically reversible condition. Many (40%) also wanted their family medicine physician to be more concerned about their hearing.
Conclusions: Family medicine physicians are in a key position to provide basic information on the preventability and negative consequences of NIHL, as well as to identify and refer patients with identified hearing loss.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/janet_reis/7/