While there is evidence noise-induced hearing loss among adolescents has increased due to the use of smartphones and other mobile devices, the evidence to date is not compelling or is still the subject of scientific debate. Nevertheless, noise induced-hearing loss is a legitimate concern and therefore a topic in need of health education to combat, particularly since exposure is frequently voluntary, the consequences are cumulative and because the effects typically do not manifest until years later. Already, it is estimated 12 to 15 percent of school age children have some hearing deficits attributable to noise exposure and in adults, 15 percent of 26 million Ameeicans between the ages 20 and 69 have noise induced hearing loss. The consequences can be significant. In children, for example, hearing loss can delay language development, reduce educational achievement, produce social isolation and compromise quality of life.
During this 21 minute conversation Dr. Battey discusses the effects of being deaf, the physiological causes of deafness, the evidence for noise induced hearing loss and moreover the impetus for the NIDCD's "It's a Noisy Planet" and the educational program's goals, targeted audiences, activities and success or impact to date.
Since 1998 Dr. James Battey has served as Director of the NIH's NIDCD. Previously he served as the Institute's Director of Intramural Research. He has also served as an Investigator and Section Chief at the NIH's National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Battey received his undergraduate degree in physics at the California Institute of Technology and his MD and Ph.D. in biophysics at Stanford University School of Medicine. He did his residency training in pediatrics also at Stanford and did postdoctoral training in genetics at Harvard Medical School.
For information concerning NIDCD's "It's a Noisy Planet" go to: https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/.
For a review article concerning noise induced hearing loss among children, see, for example, Robert V. Harrison, "The Prevention of Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Children," International Journal of Pediatrics (2012) at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijpedi/2012/473541/.