CNN Medical Producer
Do you ever get the impression your teen is just not hearing you? Well, maybe he's not. Literally. According to a new study, more American adolescents may be suffering from early signs of hearing loss than previously estimated.
Researchers looking at hearing loss in people ages 12 to 19 found that when compared with data from the mid-1990s there has been a 30 percent increase in the development of minimal levels of hearing loss, and a 77 percent increase in more serious hearing problems – those where obvious communication difficulties can be observed. About one in 20 children experienced hearing loss in 1994, and that number jumped to about one in 5, or an estimated 6.5 million adolescents, by 2006.
“What we're seeing is a big jump in the prevalence of hearing loss in a very short period of time, in less than one generation,” says Dr. Roland Eavey, an author on the study. “That means we're on the front edge of an epidemic.” The results were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Hearing loss is a serious problem that can lead to developmental delays for school-aged children. Even though the condition is common, getting to the root of the problem remains a challenge.
The authors of the JAMA article conclude that more studies are needed to determine the exact cause of the increase. “We see smoke,” Eavey explains. “We’re not sure where the fire is yet, but we know it’s not good for the woods to be burning."
Filed under: Medical News
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with