Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Provides First Guidelines For Safe Levels Of IPod Music Listening

Date:
October 19, 2006
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
A new analysis of iPods and other portable, digital music players by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Children's Hospital in Boston has produced the first-ever detailed guidelines for safe listening levels using earphones.

A new analysis of iPods and other portable, digital music players by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Children's Hospital in Boston has produced the first-ever detailed guidelines for safe listening levels using earphones.

The study indicates a typical person can safely listen to an iPod for 4.6 hours per day at 70 percent volume using stock earphones, according to Cory Portnuff, a doctoral researcher in CU-Boulder's speech language and hearing sciences department. Portnuff, who undertook the study with Brian Fligor, director of audiology at Children's Hospital -- the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School -- said the study quantifies both safe and hazardous music listening levels for the typical person.

The researchers found, for example, that listening to music at full volume through an iPod for more than five minutes a day using stock earphones can increase the risk of hearing loss in a typical person. But they also concluded that individuals can safely listen to iPods for 90 minutes a day with the supplied earphones if the volume is at 80 percent of maximum levels without greatly increasing the risk of hearing loss.

"Damage to hearing occurs when a person is exposed to loud sounds over time," said Portnuff. "The risk of hearing loss increases as sound is played louder and louder for long durations, so knowing the levels one is listening to music at, and for how long, is extremely important."

The findings were presented at a national conference, "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children at Work and Play," held Oct. 18 and Oct. 19 in Covington, Ky.

The researchers found no significant difference in sound levels between five of the most popular genres of popular music they tested, including rock, rhythm and blues, dance, Top 40 and country. Portnuff and Fligor measured specific sound levels from five portable music players, including the Apple iPod, the Apple iPod Nano, the Apple iPod Mini, the Creative Zen Micro and the SanDisk Sansa. The guidelines developed by the researchers apply to all of the music players analyzed in the study, all of which produced similar volumes.

The data was collected at Children's Hospital in Boston and analyzed at the Hearing Research Laboratory at CU-Boulder. The research was funded primarily by the Department of Otolaryngology at Boston's Children's Hospital.

Typical individuals can tolerate about two hours a day of a decibel unit known as 91-dBA before risking hearing loss, Portnuff said. The term dBA stands for "A-weighted decibels, a scale that takes into account that the human ear has different sensitivities to different frequency levels," he said.

Loud sounds can stress and potentially damage delicate hair cells in the inner ear that convert mechanical vibrations, or sound, to electrical signals that the brain interprets as sound. "Over time, the hair cells can become permanently damaged and no longer work, producing hearing loss," he said.

But not everyone shares the same risk of hearing loss, Portnuff said. Some people have "tougher ears," allowing them to listen to music relatively safely for longer periods, while those with "tender ears" may suffer ear damage even if they follow the new study recommendations. "There is really no way of knowing which people are more prone to damage from listening to music," he said.

The type of earphones used affect the potential damage to ears, Portnuff said. So-called "isolator" earphones -- which block out background noise -- are capable of producing higher sound-levels than earphones with so-called "earbuds." Conversely, "supra-aural" earphones that are placed over the ears rather than inside them can be used for longer periods and still be considered safe for typical people, he said.

"No one set of earphones is more dangerous than another," he said. "While isolator style earphones are capable of producing higher levels of sound than earbuds, most people use them at a lower volume than earbuds because they block out background noise. It's important to monitor the level of volume control settings."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "New Study Provides First Guidelines For Safe Levels Of IPod Music Listening." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093727.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2006, October 19). New Study Provides First Guidelines For Safe Levels Of IPod Music Listening. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093727.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "New Study Provides First Guidelines For Safe Levels Of IPod Music Listening." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093727.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins