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June 2022

The use of personal cassette players among youths and its effects on hearing

Author(s): Van Hasselt, C. A., Tang, L. S., Yiu, P. C.

Journal/Book: Public Health. 1990; 104: 327-30.

Abstract: To assess the prevalence of use of Personal Cassette Players (PCP) among youths in a residential community in Hong Kong, we interviewed 487 youths aged 15-24 years who attended various activities in eight Youth Centres in Shatin, Hong Kong. 394 (81%) reported using the Personal Cassette Player regularly. The mean duration of PCP use was 2.8 years with a median of 2 years. The mean time of listening to PCP was 4.5 hours per week. We further examined 124 subjects by otoscopy and of the 103 otoscopically normal individuals, audiometric tests were performed. Among the 78 PCP users and 25 non-users, no significant difference in the mean hearing threshold was observed for the frequencies tested. The mean ear canal sound level was 70.4 dBA. Four subjects were habitually exposed to sound levels higher than 85 dBA. One was exposed to 116 dBA and was found to have a 4000 Hz dip on his audiogram, suggestive of noise-induced hearing loss. In general, despite the high prevalence of PCP use, most youths used their PCP at relatively safe sound levels with low risk of hearing loss. However, education directed towards the youth with respect to the potential hazard on hearing due to improper and prolonged use of PCP is still warranted.

Keyword(s): Adolescence ; Adult ; Audiometry ; Auditory Threshold; Hearing Loss, Noise Induced diagnosis; Hong Kong Hearing Loss, Noise Induced etiology; Music Female; Human; Male


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