ISSN 1612-3352

Editors in Chief

Prof. Dr. Claus F. Claussen, Neurootological Research Institute of the Research Society for Smell, Taste, Hearing and Equilibrium Disorders at Bad Kissingen (4-G-F). Bad Kissingen, Germany.
Dr. med. Julia M. Bergmann,
Dr. med. Guillermo O. Bertora,
Otoneuroophthalmological Neurophysiology,
Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Production Managers

Dr. med. Julia M. Bergmann,
Dr. med. Guillermo O. Bertora,
Otoneuroophthalmological Neurophysiology,
Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Associated Editors

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Audiological screening in a group of portuguese adolescents: the role of leisure noises


Aim of study: Hearing loss caused by exposure to recreational noise is considered a devastating disability, not least because it is virtually 100 percent preventable. No consensus exists regarding the magnitude of the risk. This study prospectively assesses the hearing threshold in a group of Portuguese adolescents, related to their habits of noise exposure.
Method: Volunteers from a group of high school students attending an educational campaign to prevent noise exposure hearing-damage were invited to collaborate. This involved taking an history, including a questionnaire about leisure noise exposure, an ENT physical examination and audiological evaluation. In total, 44 adolescents aged 16 to 20 years completed audiometric and compliance testing for both ears. An audiometric noise notch in at least one ear was used as the criterion for assessing noise-induced hearing threshold shift associated with exposure to loud noises.
Results: Except for one unilateral 33 dB HL threshold at (500+1000+2000+4000) Hz, all hearing thresholds of all subjects were normal, i.e. 25dB HL or better. A 10 dB threshold elevation (notch) in either ear at 3 to 6 KHz as compared with neighboring frequencies was noted in 3 subjects (6.8%). No unequivocal notch (15 dB or greater) in either ear was found.
Conclusion: The great majority of young people exposed to recreational noise appear to be at low risk for significant noise-induced hearing loss. However, the interpretation of these results must be very cautious because noise-induced hearing loss is an additive process and even subtle deficiency may contribute to unequivocal hearing loss with continued exposure.
Appropriate intervention to avoid noise-induced hearing loss and its potential for causing educational difficulties in young people should be evaluated. Adolescent-specific prevention methods may be developed and applied to the benefit of all. Adolescents seem to be particularly sensitive to media campaigns and peer pressure. It would be a sensible first step in obviating this problem to use magazine or television advertising, especially emphasizing the additive nature of hearing loss.



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