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Campaign Urges Kids To Give Their Ears A Break

Aired 11/16/11 on KPBS News.

Use of devices like iPods are on the rise, and so is hearing loss among children. Coincidence?

— Researchers say hearing loss among children is on the rise, and the pervasive use of earbuds may be part of the problem.

A campaign encouraging kids to give their ears a break is making a stop in San Diego this week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 52 million American children have permanent hearing loss due to frequent exposure to noise. The cause isn't clear, but one factor is the widespread use of ear buds to listen to music on iPods and other devices.

Terry Tyll is an audiologist with the San Diego Unified School District. He said it's a disturbing trend.

"We have a generation of children that are sticking earbuds in the ears in preschool," Tyll said. "And if you're listening to noise or music too loud over a long period of time, you degenerate hair cells which can translate into hearing loss."

The campaign in city schools this week encourages kids to take their earbuds out for periods of time, and to turn down the volume.

One recent study reveals most users of personal audio devices exceed recommended sound exposure limits.

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