Turn down the music, save your ears

MP3 players pose a larger risk to hearing loss than considered.

We all have heard it before: Turn down the music! Whether it was our parents trying to yell at us over blasting rock during our younger years, or if it is a landlord, a neighbor or even worse, police, loud music gives some people a lot of pleasure and others a large annoyance. Although turning down the music makes sense to listeners when it affects people around them, it seldom is a concern when listening to personal music devices.

Exposure to music or noise at high, such as 85, for longer periods of time have been proven to contribute to long-term hearing loss. MP3 players usually can reach levels even greater than this. For example, iPods in America can reach up to 115 decibels. Even listening at 60 percent of the maximum volume for more than two hours each day can negatively affect oneís hearing. In France and other European countries, laws have restricted iPod noise levels to 100 decibels.

Because the sound coming out of personal music devices often is sent directly through the ear canal with headphones, the effects can be even more detrimental than everyday loud sounds. Also important to consider is that those who use MP3 players have so much music available to them that often they listen for longer periods, or listen several times each day. This makes effects even worse. Volumes often are turned up higher to cover background noise. People are adjusting to greater volume, making dangerous levels sound normal to their ears.

Students everywhere are embracing their MP3 players. For some a single day without it becomes boring.

The harmful effects to hearing shouldnít stop people from listening, but it is something to keep in mind. Whether listening between classes, on the bus, or on the treadmill, keep the volume of your MP3 player below 60 percent of the maximum volume. This may seem too quiet for some, however. Foam coverings on headphones can help absorb the outside noise, and a lower volume might work. Just think about it. The soundtrack of your life might help you through your days now, but is it worth hearing aids in the future?