IPods, Teenagers and Hearing Loss

Its hard to find a teenager – or a “tweenager” – these days who does not have an iPod, iPhone¬† or similar MP3 or smartphone device that they spend a lot of their time plugged into.

Most adults are aware of the fact that listening to an iPod, especially if you use the “in ear” headphones they come with, can damage your hearing over time. A great many teenagers have been told this as well but the problem is that most of them do nothing about it. and some may not even realize that they have their music and their games and videos too loud.

One study of 30 teenagers conducted jointly between researchers from Colorado University and The Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA found that most of the study participants did not even think that they kept the volume too loud on their personal music players and smartphones.

What the researchers were able to conclude is that listening to 90 minutes of music a day, using earbuds, at 80% volume on the iPod or iPhone appeared not to affect hearing. If the volume was turned down to 70% that time increased to 4 hours. So there should be very few problems, if the volume is kept down and teens (and everyone else) do not spend the whole day “plugged in”.

The difficulty was that the researchers found that many of the kids kept the volume on their devices at 90% or even at full volume and that can start damaging hearing in the long term with just 5 minutes a days use.

The answer then, it seems, is not too listen too loud for too long. This can be hard to enforce with teens of course as they do have a tendency to do the exact opposite of hat their parents an other adults tell them to. Perhaps though if they realize that unless they turn the volume down they might be replacing their iPod ear-buds with a couple of hearing aids in the not so distant future then they might be persuaded to listen a little more responsibly.