Hysterical Technophobic Screaming May Cause Hearing Loss


Creative Commons image by Dabdiputs.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle references a study from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital that points to a significant increase in hearing loss among adolescents aged 12-19, compared to a 1988-1992 study.

The type of loss seen was significant enough in about 1 in 20 subjects that it may affect their ability to learn in the classroom.

The new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (only the abstract is viewable to non-members), is a textbook case of what I love about science, because it actually covered a significant number of subjects (more than 4,000), and the researchers admit that while MP3 players might be the cause, they aren’t necessarily. In fact, the type of damage seen usually isn’t associated with loud noises.

Other possible causes mentioned in the Chronicle article are better survival rates for premature babies (who have a greater prevalence of hearing problems) and unspecified genetic disorders. Nonetheless, the Chron feels obligated to point out “..anecdotally speaking, who hasn’t seen a teenager blasting his iPod on BART?”

That’s okay, though; San Francisco gets to hold up the “not flipping out” side of the mainstream-media spectrum. Eight hours ahead and apparently drunk on cheap vodka at the tail end of a speed orgy, the Telegraph waves its hands in the air and sobs hysterically about the evils of technology, headlining its article on the same study “iPods and MP3 players ‘linked to teenage deafness'” and adding a cherry subtitle “iPods, MP3 players and increased exposure to live music has led to a surge in hearing loss in teens, research suggests.”

And when journalists tell us that “research suggests” something? Class? What do we do? Anyone? Anyone?

That’s right. We slap them! Get ahold of yourself, Telegraph. Technology isn’t evil; neither are teens. They’re just drawn that way.

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