A Little Health... Personal Music Players and Hearing Loss

How many of you received new iPods or MP3 players for the holidays? How many of you use these on a daily basis? Ever wonder if your listening habits affect your hearing? Read on. Here are a few excerpts taken from Noise and Hearing Loss: A Review by Eileen Daniel, DEd.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that approximately 30 million Americans are exposed to daily noise levels that will likely lead to hearing loss.

NIOSH defines hazardous noise as sound that exceeds 85 dB (decibels) over a typical 8 hour day.

Listeners using portable music players can expose themselves to the same level of loudness in 15 minutes of music at 100 dB that an industrial worker gets in an 8-hour day at 85 dB.

In a study of over 700 teens (who were typically exposed to sounds exceeding 87 dB), approximately 60% did not consider the noise to be too loud. Of those individuals who did not perceive the music as too loud, 71% suffered from tinnitus and 11% had hearing loss following attendance at a music event.

How often are you or your family plugged into your iPods and MP3 players? How loud have you cranked up the volume? Here is the simple truth: 1 in 5 teenagers have hearing loss due to personal music players. This number rose from 1 in 8 teens in 2006. Audiologists joke that they call iPods "job security". We are about to have a generation who has more hearing loss than their parents or grandparents.

You can buy ear buds that limit volume to 85 dB. iPod does have customized earbuds - the better the fit on your buds, the more outside noise it blocks out and the less dB you need to hear your favorite tunes. You can also program your iPods to not go over 85 dB. FYI: halfway on your iPod volume control is 90 dB. Turn that volume a little to the left and give your ears a break.

Listen To Your Buds is an educational site for kids to learn more about listening safety.

Here is a rap for teens called Turn It To The Left. Research has proven that if children and teens are educated about hearing loss, they will take more care to prevent it.

For adults, a quick hearing assessement quiz at This can help you determine if it would be a good idea to call an audiologist for a hearing screening. By the way, most audiologists will do a basic hearing screening for free.

1 comment:

Gravity Gardener said...

NIHL is totally preventable...Loud music, operating construction machinery and other types of piercing noises can be devastating to your auditory senses. Prevention of noise induced hearing loss is mostly common sense but unfortunately more and more people suffer today’s society, especially with the popularity of portable music and gaming devices.

I put a chart together to show noise levels of common noises that can eventually cause hearing loss.


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