Researchers studying hearing loss in American teens are biting their nails after making grim discoveries.
"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. "That means we're on the front edge of an epidemic."
Here are the numbers: People ages 12 to 19 years old were observed and doctors found a 30 percent increase in hearing loss with this generation than teens in the mid-90s. Even more alarming is that there's also a 77 percent increase in teens with serious hearing problems.
In 1994, 1 in 20 kids showed signs of hearing loss. Fast forward about a decade and hearing problems are much more common with 1 in 5 kids experiencing symptoms. In 2006, 6.5 million teens were affected presumably due to teens playing personal music players like iPods in their ears too loudly for too long.
Dr. Katrina Stidham, Chief of Neurotology at Westchester Medical Center, warns, "One of the first signs of noise induced hearing problems is tinnitus, experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear." Click here for tips on how to safely use your iPod.