Hearing Loss Related to MP3s & iPods
According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 12.5% of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 suffer from loss of hearing as a result of using ear phones turned to a high volume.
A major contributor to this significant statistic is the recent introduction of earbuds (that deliver the sound directly into the ear canal) and MP3 players that allow kids to listen to music at high volumes.
Walkmans and portable music players have been around for a while, so what is all this talk about MP3 players and hearing damage? This is partly due to difference in listening habits. Walkmans hold one CD at a time, so people listen for a shorter time. However, MP3 players can store thousands of songs, so people listen longer.
Brian Fligor – a doctor at the Children's Hospital in Boston – says that typically, someone who is exposed to more than 85 decibels of sound for eight hours damages their hearing.
So, how do you know if you have damaged your ears with your music?
- You hear people's voices less clearly
- You often have to ask people to repeat themselves
- Your family asks you to turn down the television because it is too loud
- You know that your music is too loud if others around you can hear it (even though you are using earphones)
Experts recommend listening to a music player for no more than one hour per day. This may seem hard if you listen while you do your homework, ride on the bus, wait in line, or just listen while you walk around.
The two problems that arise from this loud volume for long durations of time are called tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. These both occur when the tiny, sensitive nerve endings in your ear suffer trauma from high noise levels.
In France, Apple capped the highest sound level on an iPod at 100 decibels, which is still loud enough to cause damage to hearing. In America, iPods can reach sound levels of over 115 decibels. Keep the volume and length of your listening to a minimum, and you will thank yourself later in life.
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