Beware! MP3 Player May Cause Hearing Loss

Loud music has long been known to cause hearing loss but a new study found that MP3 player may also pose the same risk and even much worse for the next generations.

The device that pump music directly into the ear canal through headsets allow the users to listen music without having interfered by the rumble of the subway or the drone of an airplane engine. And because they hold thousands of songs, the users tend to listen continuously for hours at a time without having to change a CD or tape.

Hearing loss is caused by continuous high volume comes from an MP3 player. Even at the reasonable level, continuous listening to an mp3 player, can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that transmit sound impulses to the brain.

“Research has shown that people exposed to 85 decibels of sound for eight hours tend to have a hearing loss and all the music players produced sound levels over 85 decibels,” said Brian Fligor, ScD of Children’s Hospital in Boston.

“Every time you increase a sound level by three decibels, listening for half an hour will produce the same risk of hearing loss. The lawn mower noise is about 80 to 85 decibels. If Ipod generates noise 20 decibels above that, then the range is 100-105 decibels. At that sound level, the device should not be used to listen music for more than 8 to 15 minutes.”

If you’re likely to listens music for several hours a day, limiting the volume of MP3 players may seem like an obvious solution.

The France and other European countries have made rules that limit the volume of iPods and other sound devices to less than 100 decibels. However, Fligor believes such efforts produce a false sense of safety.

“Restricting the volume focuses on the sound level, not the dose,” he said, “If you set the cap at 100 decibels, which does not give you license to listen all day”.

In addition, as soon as those European countries limited the volume of iPods, web sites started providing detailed instructions on how to override that limit.

Mary Florentine, an audiologist at Northeastern University, suspects that some young people have a condition called loud music dependency disorder (LMDD).

“I asked teenagers why they continued to listen to loud music despite knowing it was harming their hearing, and they said that they could not stop listening,” said Florentine as reported by cbsnews.

Many people still denied the dangers of listening to loud music because the early symptoms tend to appear gradually. The hearing loss is increased before they were realized that the disorder has become more serious. Hearing loss is also more common with age.

An article in the journal Pediatrics estimates that 12.5 percent of children aged 6-19 years in the United States, or about 5.2 million of people have hearing problems.

“Our research shows that 16 percent of children aged 6-19 years had experienced early signs of hearing loss caused by loud noise,” said William Martin, PhD, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, United States.

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