Thursday, November 09, 2006

Research Says Turn Down iPods to Protect Ears

news you may not know

Could You
Speak Up
A Little?

Does listening to Apple's iPod cause hearing loss? Audiologists, presenting at a national conference in Cincinnati, say it may. Their research affirmed the 1957 findings of Ethel Belzer, the Detroit mother who is first attributed with shouting, "Turn it down - you're going to go deaf!" Mrs. Belzer's son Ralph, asked how he felt about the scientific validation of his mother's early warnings, responded with a shrug of his shoulders and said, "Could you speak up a little?" Ah... if only children would listen to mom.

Audiologists from Harvard and the University of Colorado studied the impact of daily doses of iPod listening. Their results indicated that mom indeed was right - the key to avoiding hearing loss is the volume. The amount of time spent listening each day has far less impact on the ears. But, even a short blast of high volume music may do permanent damage.

Two types of hearing loss are common in humans. The first is caused by a sudden blast of noise, such as an explosion of fireworks or a siren. The second occurs more slowly and, partly because it happens over time, may be more difficult to recognize until after the damage has taken place.

The scientists recommend that iPod users reduce the potential of loss by taking a couple of simple steps. First, users should listen to music at no more than 70 percent of full volume. At this level, music enthusiasts may enjoy several hours each day without doing harm. The louder the volume, the less listening time. Also, using an in-the-ear earphone helps block out background noise and lets the listener enjoy their tunes at a safer volume level.

Conference attendees received the news positively, with a Georgia woman saying, "It's always satisfying when science comes down on the side of mom." Ralph Belzer, attending in honor of his mother, when asked if he was proud of his mom's influence, said, "Excuse me?"

For more study details, see Researchers Recommend Safe Listening Levels for Apple iPod.


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