If you or your child enjoy listening to music on an iPod or similar device you may be permanently damaging your hearing. All of the devices are capable of producing volume levels that can cause hearing loss if the volume is maxed out for more than five minutes a day.
Maxing out the volume on a typical MP3 player — such as the popular Apple “iPod” — for anything more than five minutes a day can permanently damage a listener’s hearing, new research says.
And listening to an MP3 in a noisy environment appears to encourage higher-than-safe volume use, which should be avoided altogether or offset by using noise-reduction-style earphones that allow for listening at lower volumes, the researchers added.
Both cautionary notes were struck Thursday by researchers presenting studies at a conference titled Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children at Work and Play, in Covington, Ky. Organizers described it as the first conference ever convened in the United States to specifically address hearing loss among children.
The study authors said their research applies equally to a five music players tested, including the iPod, iPod Nano, and iPod Mini, as well as Sandisk Sansa and Creative Zen Micro players.
“What people should think about is that all personal music players are capable of producing levels that are potentially dangerous to their hearing, but all of them can be used in a safe manner as well,” said Brian J. Fligor, a co-author of two conference studies and director of the diagnostic audiology program at Children’s Hospital Boston.