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Title: Headphones and Deafness

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-07-29 09:51:07


Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! If you use headphones, you can may want to read this article. I would suggest hearing on the headphones at a soft audio volume and using external speakers whenever possible.




Although increasingly popular these days among youngsters MP3 players can

produce irreversible damages to the internal ear.


This is what a study conducted in Britain has found out: people today are

likely to lose their hearing thirty years earlier than the previous

generation, thanks in part to the ubiquitous personal audio player.


Deafness Research UK and Specsavers Hearcare said a national survey in

Britain showed that 14 per cent of 16-34-year-olds use their personal music

players for 28 hours a week.


The study was conducted on more than 1000 people and it discovered that over a third of them listen to MP3 players (like iPod) everyday despite having

experienced tinnitus, a ringing in the ears which is a classic sign of

hearing damage. Half (54 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds listen to their MP3

player for more than an hour a day, and almost 20 per cent spend more than

21 hours a week plugged in.


But certainly the most surprising and alarming was the finding that 38 per

cent of 16-34 year-olds were not aware that listening to loud music on a

personal music player can seriously and irreversibly damage their hearing.

Vivienne Michael, chief executive of Deafness Research UK, said: "A

generation ago we would see people going deaf in their 60s or 70s, but we're

now seeing more people going deaf in their 40s, which is very worrying.


"Many young people are regularly using MP3 players for long periods and are

frighteningly unaware of the fact that loud noise can permanently damage

your hearing."


According to Vivienne Michael loud music and medium, but constant noise are

destroying the hair cells in the ears that pick up sounds and allow hearing.

These cells gradually die anyway in old age but exposure to loud noises

accelerates hearing loss - which is irreversible.


The louder the noise and the longer the exposure, the more hair cells are

destroyed, she added.


"People don't take it seriously enough. The Health and Safety Executive says

any noise above 105 decibels can permanently damage you hearing, but the

maximum volume on many MP3 players is up to 120 decibels - as loud as an

ambulance siren.


"We advise a 60-60 rule - don't listen at more than 60 per cent of the

maximum volume and don't listen for more than an hour.


"Another rule of thumb is if your music is so loud that other people can

hear it then it's too loud - turn it down.


"Hearing loss can make life unbearable. We want people to realize that their

hearing is as important as their sight and protect their ears against any

potential damage.


"We don't want the MP3 generation to go deaf in their 30s or 40s."

The extensive study also found out that 46.5 per cent of all 16-24 year olds

visit a nightclub at least once a week, and that four-fifths (82 per cent)

of people who have experienced ringing in the ears - a sign of hearing

damage - after listening to loud music also go to nightclubs.


The Royal National Institute for the Deaf has warned before about MP3

players and is now sustaining the conclusions of the recent survey.


Chief executive Dr John Low of The Royal National Institute for the Deaf

said: "This survey shows very clearly that young people are frighteningly

unaware of the dangers of listening to their MP3 players too loudly. If

young people don't heed our warnings about safer listening, they could end

up facing premature hearing damage."


"New technology and ever-increasing storage capacity enables people to

listen non-stop for hours – and at louder volumes than ever before. If you

are regularly plugged in, it is only too easy to clock up noise doses that

could damage your hearing forever."


Tinnitus, "ringing ears" or ear noise is a phenomenon of the nervous system

connected to the ear, characterised by perception of a ringing, beating or

roaring sound (often perceived as sinusoidal) with no external