"... I don't want to single out iPods. Any personal listening device out there has the potential to be used in a way that will cause hearing loss. We've conducted studies of a few MP3 players and found very similar results across the MP3 manufacturers.
Some in-the-ear earphones are capable of providing higher sound levels than some over-the-ear earphones. That said, studies we've done on behavior show that the type of earphones has almost nothing to do with the level at which people set their headphones. It's all dictated by the level of background noise in their listening environment.
When we put people in different listening environments, like flying in an airplane — we used noise we'd recorded while flying on a Boeing 757 commercial flight, and we simulated that environment in our lab — 80% of people listened at levels that would eventually put their hearing at risk. On the subway system here in Boston, the ambient noise levels are very comparable to the level on an airplane, although it sounds very different.
The noise is sufficiently high that it induces people to listen to their headphones at excessively loud volume. But in order to listen as loud as you want, you need to be careful about how long you're listening.
I would also strongly recommend that people invest in better earphones that block out background noise. Some of the research we did studied earphones that completely seal up the ear canal. These are passive sound-isolating earphones, as opposed to the ones that are active noise cancelers that block out some of the noise.
As far as I can tell, both would allow people to listen to their headphones at their chosen level — and more likely at a lower volume than if they were using the stock earbuds...."
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Today, iPods (or) products similar to iPods are quite common. But will this lead to hearing loss? Does listening to loud music through headphones lead to long-term hearing loss? Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children's Hospital Boston, explains how much damage your headphone habit might cause — and how to mitigate your risk, in this interesting article in Time (July 28, 2008). Some highlights from the article -