Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using MP3 players at high volume puts teens at risk for early hearing loss, say researchers

Date:
December 29, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Today's ubiquitous MP3 players permit users to listen to crystal-clear tunes at high volume for hours on end -- a marked improvement on the days of the Walkman. But according to new research, these advances have also turned personal listening devices into a serious health hazard, with teenagers as the most at-risk group.

Today's ubiquitous MP3 players permit users to listen to crystal-clear tunes at high volume for hours on end -- a marked improvement on the days of the Walkman. But according to Tel Aviv University research, these advances have also turned personal listening devices into a serious health hazard, with teenagers as the most at-risk group.

One in four teens is in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of these listening habits, says Prof. Chava Muchnik of TAU's Department of Communication Disorders in the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center. With her colleagues Dr. Ricky Kaplan-Neeman, Dr. Noam Amir, and Ester Shabtai, Prof. Muchnik studied teens' music listening habits and took acoustic measurements of preferred listening levels.

The results, published in the International Journal of Audiology, demonstrate clearly that teens have harmful music-listening habits when it comes to iPods and other MP3 devices. "In 10 or 20 years it will be too late to realize that an entire generation of young people is suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural aging," says Prof. Muchnik.

Hearing loss before middle age

Hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to loud noise is a slow and progressive process. People may not notice the harm they are causing until years of accumulated damage begin to take hold, warns Prof. Muchnik. Those who are misusing MP3 players today might find that their hearing begins to deteriorate as early as their 30's and 40's -- much earlier than past generations.

The first stage of the study included 289 participants aged 13 to 17. They were asked to answer questions about their habits on personal listening devices (PLDs) -- specifically, their preferred listening levels and the duration of their listening. In the second stage, measurements of these listening levels were performed on 74 teens in both quiet and noisy environments. The measured volume levels were used to calculate the potential risk to hearing according to damage risk criteria laid out by industrial health and safety regulations.

The study's findings are worrisome, says Prof. Muchnik. Eighty percent of teens use their PLDs regularly, with 21 percent listening from one to four hours daily, and eight percent listening more than four hours consecutively. Taken together with the acoustic measurement results, the data indicate that a quarter of the participants are at severe risk for hearing loss.

Dangerous decibels

Currently, industry-related health and safety regulations are the only benchmark for measuring the harm caused by continuous exposure to high volume noise. But there is a real need for additional music risk criteria in order to prevent music-induced hearing loss, Prof. Muchnik says. In the meantime, she recommends that manufacturers adopt the European standards that limit the output of PLDs to 100 decibels. Currently, maximum decibel levels can differ from model to model, but some can go up to 129 decibels.

Steps can also be taken by schools and parents, she says. Some school boards are developing programs to increase awareness of hearing health, such as the "Dangerous Decibels" program in Oregon schools, which provides early education on the subject. Teens could also choose over-the-ear headphones instead of the ear buds that commonly come with an iPod.

In the near future, the researchers will focus on the music listening habits of younger children, including pre-teens, and the development of advanced technological solutions to enable the safe use of PLDs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chava Muchnik, Noam Amir, Ester Shabtai, Ricky Kaplan-Neeman. Preferred listening levels of personal listening devices in young teenagers: Self reports and physical measurements. International Journal of Audiology, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2011.631590

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Using MP3 players at high volume puts teens at risk for early hearing loss, say researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134852.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, December 29). Using MP3 players at high volume puts teens at risk for early hearing loss, say researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134852.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Using MP3 players at high volume puts teens at risk for early hearing loss, say researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111228134852.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
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