Turn that iPod down, it might deafen you

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf, the largest charity representing the U.K.’s 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people, warns that two thirds of youngsters using MP3 players are at risk of premature and permanent hearing loss:

The charity used decibel meters to test the volume of 110 young people’s MP3 players in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham and found that 72 out of those tested were listening at over 85 decibels. Separate research by the charity found that almost half of young people who use MP3 players listen for more than an hour a day, with a quarter listening for more than 21 hours a week.

The World Health Organization says that listening to earphones at 85 decibels or more for over an hour at a time can damage hearing – and with eight million MP3 players sold last year alone in the UK, RNID is warning that a generation of young music lovers could face premature hearing damage.

Worryingly, the charity also found that 58 per cent of young people were unaware of any risk to their hearing from using MP3 players and 79 per cent had never seen warnings about noise levels on the packaging of MP3 players.


5 thoughts on “Turn that iPod down, it might deafen you

  1. Another way Apple is setting the world up for world domination: Once hearing loss becomes common place, they will release iEar (iHearing Aid?). A perfectly styled and convienent ear piece that will work with ipod, iphone, and i[Enter Product Name Here]. And since it will be horribly expensive, to lower the cost you can get “iEar” for cheep, you just have to hear product suggestions while people are talking to you.
    Steve: “Hey Bob, how was the lake?”
    You: [faint voice in ear]New line of jet ski on sale now at Bass Pro Shop. “Oh it was fun, but I need to get a new jet ski. There are some on sale at Bass Pro Shop.”
    Steve: “Alright Bob, take it easy. See you at the meeting.”
    You: [faint voice in ear]Jobs with out meetings at monster.com. “Alright, take it easy Steve.”

  2. This is identical to findings about headphones in the 1970s, walkmans in the 1980s, and discmans in the 1990s. It has nothing to do with the tech that plays the music – it’s putting the speakers close to one’s ears and turning them up.
    (And don’t bother claiming earbuds are new with ipods. No, they go back to at least the mid 1990s.)
    In short, people have always liked loud music, much more than is good for them, and this should be news to no-one.

  3. You’re right – that loud music, whether it comes from an MP3 player or a Walkman, damages ears is not news. But I’d never seen any statistics on the proportions of people who play their music at such a high volume, or on how long they listen to their MP3 players.

  4. I am currently listening to my iPOD and have no idea if it is too loud or not. I know I shouldn’t listen to my music loud I’ve seen estimates on what is a safe listening volume ranging from 75-90db. What I don’t know is what 75-90db sounds like. If I’m in a noisy room and have my music up loud enough to drown the background noise out have I exceed the recommended listening volume? I think my iPOD should be able to display the volume in estimated db as well as a line bar graph.

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