So many people are using mp3 players and iPods on an everyday basis more and more. This rising trend attracts all people who like to listen to non-stop music on the bus, in the car, while working out or just while relaxing at home. While there have been many studies on the positive effects music can have on a person, having small earphones stuffed in your ears while playing loud music can be detrimental to your hearing. Studies have shown that using small earpieces that are inserted inside of the ear creates a sound that is nine decibels higher than that of regular headphones that cover the whole ear. Nine decibels may not sound like a lot, but to put it in perspective it is about the same difference of an alarm clock to a lawn mower. It is also important to note that the type of earphones that fit inside the ear are less effective at blocking out background noises, giving the listener more incentive to turn up the volume. While no one can be sure what the average volume mp3 listeners are cranking their volumes to, a recent study compiled in Australia showed that a quarter of the listeners between the ages of 18 and 54 are listening to music at levels that could potentially cause long term hearing loss.
High levels of music produced by mp3 technology can cause hearing loss because the sound waves damage the hair cells in the cochlea; a part of the ear which transmits sound information to your brain. Any sound higher than 90 decibels can cause long term hearing loss if the sound is prolonged, and most mp3 players have the technological capabilities of reaching 120 decibels. That is equivalent to an ambulance siren.
You can’t measure the decibel level of your mp3 player, but you might be listening to your music too loud if your player is over 60% of the maximum volume, you can’t hear conversations that are happening around you, other people can hear your music, or you find yourself yelling or talking loudly to people nearby.
There is no need to stop using your mp3 player, and most people wouldn’t anyways, considering the great joys they get out of the technology, but there are ways you can ensure your hearing is healthy. Just follow the steps above and you will be sure to have excellent ear health as well as pleasurable non-stop music technology for many years to come.