iPod Generation and Hearing Loss
Young people are more likely to play music louder and for longer periods of time. Research shows that 76% of people listen to music at levels above 85 decibels. Exposure to noise of over 80 decibels can cause permanent damage to your hearing. This is classed as noise induced hearing loss, which is different from the deafness that can occur naturally in old age.
Here is a guideline on the levels and duration advisable to not exceed each day:
• 90 dB – 8 hours
• 92 dB – 6 hours
• 95 dB – 4 hours
• 97 dB – 3 hours
• 100 dB – 2 hours
• 105 dB – 1 hours
• 110 dB – 0.5 hours
• 115 dB – 0.25 hours
There have been personal music players since the 80s but Mp3 players pose a higher risk. Walkmans and portable CD players before could pose some threat but they could only be used for short periods of time due to battery life and limited amount of music to play. Mp3 players can last for hours with 1000s of songs saved, allowing people to listen to music more, increasing their exposure.
This means that an Mp3 player can be more damaging than Occupational Deafness.
This is an optimistic view as it is clear that people are going to continue to regularly listen to music through Mp3 players. With the amount of music available on these players people should be able to listen to their music without the risk of hearing loss. The manufacturers do need to take more action in warning of the risks of listening to loud music but we also need to take some responsibility. There are many measures we can take including reducing the volume and using filtered ear phones. Using these will allow us to play music at safe levels for reasonable periods in the day. Possibly manufacturers should supply these with the Mp3 players as standard.