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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
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
"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
"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