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Blasting your personal music player may induce short-term hearing loss


My iPod nano is more than a nifty portable device filled with my favorite songs for relaxing, working and running. It's my go-to-gadget for drowning out conversations on CalTrain, silencing ambient office sounds and muffling the drone of airplane engines.

But blocking out such auditory nuisances also means turning up the volume, which may not be a wise decision. Findings published this month in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery show that blasting music on a portable music player, even for short periods of time, may induce temporary hearing loss and potentially cause cumulative damage to your hearing. WebMD reports:

In the new study, 21 participants listened to an MP3 player for a maximum of six sessions at varying volume levels using either earbuds or more traditional earphones. Researchers evaluated the participants’ hearing before and after the experiment via two standardized hearing measurements. They found that participants showed temporary changes in their hearing after listening to one hour of pop-rock music on their portable music devices.

In the story, researchers advise keeping the volume level on your MP3 player at, or below, 80 percent if you are using it for 90 minutes or less. If you want to rock out all day long, they recommend setting the volume level at, or below, 60 percent. Apple provides additional tips for listening to your iPod or iPhone safely. In addition, each device offers users the option of setting a maximum volume limit.

Photo by orangeacid

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