Survey sounds warning to teenagers over hearing loss

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2008, 12:00am

Fourteen per cent of teenagers tested during a recent survey were found to suffer from mild hearing loss.

The survey of 833 students aged between 11 and 20 at the Church of Christ in China Yenching College, in Tsing Yi, found 14 per cent of them were unable to hear sounds at less than 25 decibels. Michael Tong Chi-fai, Hear Talk Foundation executive committee chairman and chief of Chinese University's division of otology and neurotology, said it was difficult to say whether the figure was significant or not. But he agreed that hearing loss was common among teenagers in the city.

'If they don't protect their ears properly now, their hearing will deteriorate quickly when they get old,' he said.

From September last year, the students were asked to do an online test. They were asked to listen to sounds on six different frequencies and answer questions. Some 116 were then assessed as having defective hearing.

Peter Tang Shu-on, a foundation member and ear, nose and throat specialist, said a third of the 116 students had hearing problems resulting from ear wax blockage - easily solved through the removal of ear wax.

But Professor Tong said the hearing impairment of the remaining two-thirds might be due to entertainment noise - such as listening to loud music in karaoke bars, concerts or through earphones for an extended period of time.

Dr Tang said the volume of music in a karaoke box was usually about 90 decibels.

He advised that people not expose themselves to such levels of sound for more than two hours.