Survey of Adults in Mexico and Puerto Rico about the Use of Personal Electronic Devices with Headphones
There is clearly awareness in both countries of the increased risk of hearing loss as a result of the use of personal electronic devices. The awareness is marginally higher among respondents residing in Puerto Rico, though overall Mexican respondents tend to report slightly less risky behavior in this regard.
In recent months about half of respondents in each country surveyed have seen some information regarding this risk. Health related groups concerned with hearing loss are the source of this information for a plurality of respondents in either country. Respondents in Puerto Rico appear to be exposed to this information in a wider variety of forums, as they are twice as likely as Mexican respondents to report the source of the information as manufacturers of products to aid in hearing loss, and manufacturers of the various electronic equipment mentioned in the survey. They are equally as likely to report the local government as the source of the information.
The information is either excellent or good according to 64% of Mexican respondents and 74% of Puerto Rican respondents. Just over a third of Mexican respondents call the information fair or poor, and about a quarter of Puerto Rican respondents do. The information itself has been seen on television or in magazines most often in either country, with newspapers the next most likely method of gaining awareness.
Even though Puerto Rican respondents seem to be more aware, Mexican respondents appear to be more likely to think about the risks of hearing loss due to the use or misuse of personal audio devices. Two thirds of Mexican respondents are more likely to think about the risks of hearing loss due to use or misuse of personal audio devices because they have seen, heard, or read information about the subject. Eleven percent of Mexican respondents are less likely to think about the risk. Twice as many agree that the information makes no difference to them. Forty-five percent of Puerto Rican respondents are more likely to think about the risks as a result of the information they have gleaned. A third of Puerto Rican respondents agree that they are less likely to think about it. Nineteen percent agree that the information makes no real difference to them in thinking about the risks.
Cell phones are the most used electronic device in each country, with laptop computers a distant second and MP3 players, iPods and portable CD players significantly less popular. They buying habits reported though appear to be signaling a change of sorts as most Forty-five percent of Mexican respondents have purchased a Walkman or portable CD player and another 45% have purchased another brand of MP3player. Responses in Puerto Rico are much lower, with 27% of respondents having purchased a Walkman or portable CD player and 22% having purchased another brand of MP3 player. About a third have purchased laptop computers, and Apple iPods are about as popular-with 31% of Mexican respondents and 26% of Puerto Rican respondents reporting having purchased them. Portable television/DVD players have been purchased by about a quarter of respondents from each country. Most devices were purchased by and for themselves in each country; Mexican respondents however, are more likely than those in Puerto Rico to have purchased devices for another adult over the age of 18. Teenagers aged 16-18 are more often the recipients of these devices in Puerto Rico than they are in Mexico. Twice as many Puerto Rican respondents report buying a laptop for a teen aged 16-18 than do Mexican respondents.
Half or more respondents in Mexico use their iPods, MP3 players, Walkman or CD players and laptops between 1 to 4 hours at a time. Seventy-seven percent of the Mexican respondents report using portable TV's or DVD players between 1 and 4 hours. Just 30% of Mexican respondents use cell phones for that amount of time. Between 40% and 50% of Puerto Rican respondents report using their iPods, MP3 players, Walkman or CD players and laptops between 1 to 4 hours at a time. They report using their portable TV/DVD players between 1 to 4 hours 57% of the time. Puerto Rican respondents report that 30% of the time they use earphones with a cell phone for between 1 and 4 hours.
Mexican respondents most often report their volume levels as medium, while Puerto Rican respondents frequently report their volume as loud (very loud + somewhat loud), or as medium.
A majority of respondents in each country reports that they have not purchased specially designed earphones to mitigate ambient noise.
Strong majorities in each country report their concern about hearing loss including hearing loss from earphone usage. Though respondents who report actual symptoms of hearing loss conditions settle at 38% or below in each country. It seems that as a result of their concern however, majorities in each country are likely to take action to prevent hearing losses as majorities of Mexican and Puerto Rican respondents report that they are likely to turn down the volume, purchase specially designed earphones and reduce the time they spend on electronic devices in order to prevent hearing loss. Even broader majorities report concerns about their children's hearing loss, with just 8% of Mexican respondents not concerned and 16% of Puerto Rican respondents not concerned.
Respondents who are concerned about their children's hearing are most likely to make them lower the volume. Eighty-two percent of Mexican respondents and 72% of Puerto Rican respondents agree this would be their first move. Discussing the dangers of using earphones is a close second for concerned parents, with 79% of Mexican respondents choosing that and 61% of Puerto Rican respondents agreeing. Limiting their time using the devices is also a popular choice with a majority (64%) of Mexican respondents, though just a plurality (48%) of Puerto Rican parents would do the same.
And while a majority of respondents agree with the statement that "It is the responsibility of manufacturers of personal audio devices like MP3 players to ensure that their product minimizes the risk of hearing loss by including a warning about the risk of hearing loss, installing a regulator, and making their produce compatible only with specially-designed ear phones to minimize the risk." It is a slim majority with slightly over half agreeing. Forty-four percent of Mexican respondents and 41% of Puerto Rican respondents agree with the statement suggesting that it is a personal responsibility to take precautions against hearing loss.