July 16, 2011

Osteopathic Medical Profession Seeks Ways to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss from Headphones

CHICAGO, July 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concerned about the potential risk of noise-induced hearing loss that can occur from listening to headphones at high volumes for extended periods of time, members of the American Osteopathic Association's (AOA) House of Delegates voted today that the AOA should advocate for manufacturers to include information about the hazards of unsafe volume levels on or within the product packaging. The policy also calls for the AOA to recommend that manufacturers implement built-in mechanisms that can be enabled to limit a product's decibel output.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 12% of children and adolescents have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.

"Listening to headphones at a high volume for extended periods of time can result in lifelong hearing loss for children and teens," says Brett M. Scotch, DO, an AOA board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon from Wesley Chapel, Fla. "Even a mild hearing loss due to excessive noise could lead to developmental delays in speech and language."

Additionally, the policy urges osteopathic physicians (DOs) to educate teens and their parents about the safety concerns of using headphones as well as the necessary safeguards to prevent permanent hearing damage.

"I stress to my patients and the parents of my patients that if you can't hear anything going on around you when listening to headphones, the decibel level is too high," says James E. Foy, DO, an AOA board-certified pediatrician who practices at the Touro University Medical Center in Vallejo, Calif. "Far too often people unnecessarily put themselves at risk for damage to their hearing because they do not know when the volume is too loud. Simple product mechanisms designed to keep volumes at safe listening levels could go a long way in preventing long-term hearing loss, especially for our young people."

About the House of Delegates

The AOA's House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 78,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

SOURCE American Osteopathic Association