Stress in Teens

Stress Worsens Teenage Diabetes

Teenage diabetic females seem to have particular problems in maintaining proper diabetic control.  One study suggests that the problem may be due to increased psychological stress which occurs at this period in life in comparison to male counterparts.  Some 50 adolescent diabetics were studied excluding those who had diabetes for less than one year, other interfering medical problems, or a history of psychological problems or unusually severe stress levels.  The subjects were evaluated in terms of their knowledge of diabetes, adherence to proper control techniques including medication and diet and standard psychological evaluation tests for depression and anxiety.  No significant sex differences were found in terms of self-care efforts with boys averaging 2.6 daily blood sugar tests compared to 2.8 for girls.  However, glycosylated hemoglobin levels which reflect average blood sugar levels of a three month period were significantly higher in females- 10.2% versus 8.7% for males.  While the averages of anxiety and depression ratings were within normal ranges for both males and females, the 16% who exhibited mild to moderate depression were all females as were the 10% of respondents who were in the moderate to high anxiety range.


Noise Stress from iPods with Earbuds

Statistics show that there has been a progressive and significant increase in hearing loss over the past three decades due to greater exposure to noisy environments, and a growing elderly population. Musicians in rock bands are at particular risk since loud sound destroys tiny hair cells in the inner ear that convert sound waves into electrical impulses that travel to the brain. Hearing loss starts once 25 percent of these cells disappear but this usually occurs gradually over years.

Personal cassette and Walkman-type compact disc players have also been linked to hearing loss in people who listen to loud music through headphones for extended periods of time. One researcher found that some CD listeners could get a sound as high as 120 decibels, which is comparable to the level at a loud rock concert or sandblasting and could cause damage after 7.5 minutes of exposure. Another audiologist who asked students to take off their headphones found typical listening levels that often approached 120 decibels. While some people prefer to listen to their music as loud as possible, He also pointed out that “A person can be listening at 60 percent volume, but then as the auditory system adapts to the intensity of the sound, the perception of the intensity is that it is becoming less, so the response is to continue to turn the volume up.” It’s better to trust the volume indicator than your ears.

iPods are too new, and noise-induced hearing loss is too gradual to be reflected in the latest statistics. However, they are of great concern because their ear buds intensify hearing damage because it is not dissipated as when listening to music on a home stereo system or even with foam earphones. One hearing loss expert also points out that, “Many people try to use the iPod to try to override the background noise wherever they may be. Depending on the level of background noise, people have been known to crank up the volume to a level that could be damaging to their hearing. For those who can manage it, there is a happy space at about 65 to 70 decibels, the level of normal conversation, where you could listen indefinitely without worrying about hearing loss. Otherwise, iPod use should be limited to two hours per day under 90 decibels.

The reason this is such a potential problem is that Apple reported sales of 14 million iPods in the last quarter of 2005, bringing total sales for the product to more than 42 million and other MP3 users also prefer ear buds to headphones. Although Apple ships a warning with each iPod that cautions “permanent hearing loss may occur if earphones or headphones are used at high volume” a lawsuit was filed earlier this year claiming that it can cause hearing loss if exposed to its more than 115 decibels for more than 28 seconds a day. Apple is now offering a free software update on the iPOD Nano and iPod models with video-playback capabilities that will set a limit on volume. Parents also can use the feature to set a limit on their child’s iPod and lock it with a code.

Reference: Gregory Mott , The iPod and the Fury The Washington Post 1/17/06