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Is Your iPod Ruining Your Hearing?

By Manisha Kanetkar | Thursday | 10/05/2007

The surge in the use of iPods and other MP3 players, supported by persuasive advertising slogans such as "live life loud," is leading to a hearing loss epidemic, according to new research from the USA.

Research data from the Hollins Communications Research Institute suggests Americans are resisting warnings from audiologists to turn down the volume on their players.

"With nearly 150 million personal music players on the market - and sales continuing to climb, hearing loss will become as prolific as these devices. iPod users are ignoring warnings that loud and prolonged exposure will give them permanent hearing damage," says Hollins Exeutive Director, Dr. Ronald Webster. 

"More awareness and education is essential. And, electronics companies need to step up and do more to protect their customers' hearing health. It's not just a matter of adding volume control features, like those available with iPods. "Preventing hearing damage requires giving consumers information and tools to understand risks and determine appropriate, safe listening levels," Webster added.

Hollins cites a recent study commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA) revealed that more than half of high school students surveyed who used personal music players reported at least one symptom of irreversible hearing loss.

The Hollins Research Institute also argues that advancements such as longer battery life, enhanced portability and song storage in personal audio technology and design help drive the nation's growing hearing loss trend by promoting more frequent listening at longer durations. And the in-ear headsets, called ear buds, pump music directly into the ear canal and produce higher decibel output than over-the-ear models, Hollins claims, this causes more damage to tiny hair cells of the inner ear that are responsible for sending sound information to the brain."

See: www.betterhearing.org, www.ear3.info, and www.hcrihearing.org for further information

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