- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CHICAGO (AP) - A new study has found a stunning increase in the rate of hearing loss among American teenagers. The report says nearly one in five teenagers has at least slight hearing loss.

The cause is a mystery. But some experts are urging teenagers to protect their hearing by turning down the volume on their digital music players. They warn that slight hearing loss can cause problems in school.

The reseachers compared hearing loss rates from the late 1980s and early 1990s with rates in 2005 and 2006.

They found hearing loss increased from about 15 percent to almost 20 percent of teens. That means about 6.5 million teenagers have at least slight hearing loss.

The study appears in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

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