What Parents Can Do to Stop Kids' Hearing Loss

What did you say? Man holding his hand to his ear iStockphoto

The iPod Generation is losing their hearing. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms hearing loss among teenagers has significantly increased about 30 percent in the last 15 years. According to the study, currently one out of five adolescents ages 12 to 19 has some evidence of hearing loss.

Until recently, little data was available to determine whether more kids were being affected, but this study, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marks a growing trend in teens to underestimate the dangers of noise exposure. While researchers do not point the finger at iPods and MP3 players, they do say those popular, high-volume ear buds are a big risk factor for noise-induced hearing loss.

As CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said on "The Early Show," hearing loss is irreversible and can impact a child's educational, psychological and social development.

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Ashton suggests parents take control of the situation before it's too late.

She advises parents limit the amount of time exposed to noise. Additionally, if necessary, Ashton said parents can use the volume limit feature on their child's iPod and lock it with a code. Kids can also try using noise-cancelling headphones, so that the outside noise will not force them to turn up the volume higher.

Click on the video below for more on hearing loss and how it occurs.


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