Hearing loss a growing problem for adolescents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Audiologists at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt say 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.

Audiologists at the Nashville hospital say if parents can hear sound coming from their child's headphones while they are being worn, it's too loud. A rule of thumb is the 60-60 rule, using only 60 percent of the device's volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. After 60 minutes, give your ears a break for at least an hour.

Prolonged exposure to high volume exhausts the auditory system, experts say.

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