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More than 3 million school-age children suffer from hearing problems, some of them stemming from listening to loud music for an extended period of time, the Better Hearing Institute reports.

Elliott Berger, manager of acoustical engineering for the E-A-R Group, a manufacturer of hearing protection devices, suggests the following:- Parents should look for signs of possible hearing loss - complaints of ringing or buzzing after listening to loud sounds or a sensation of "stuffed ears" when things are quiet, saying "What?" frequently and the temporary inability to detect weak sounds.

- Stress to children that music can be just as enjoyable at a lower sound level, and be firm about telling them to "lower the volume" or limit the amount of time they're exposed to loud music.

- Tell children about all the potential dangers of high-level noise - jets taking off, jackhammers and loud music - and how prolonged exposure can add up to hearing loss.

-For more information, the brochure "A Helpful Guide to Ear Protection" is available free. Write: E-A-R Division, Cabot Corp., 5457 West 79th St., Indianapolis, IN 46268.