Keeping Your Ears Safe From the iPod

MP3 players -- like the various iterations of the iPod -- have become so popular and can do so many wonderful things, I suspect many of you probably forget these awesome gadgets can easily harm your ears permanently, if you're not careful.

All it takes to harm your hearing forever, according to experts speaking at a recent conference specifically addressing hearing loss among children, is listening to high volumes on any MP3 player for at least five minutes a day (roughly a song or two).

The trick about using an iPod or any other MP3 player safely, experts say: Choosing the right earphones, which may necessitate pitching the set of "earbuds" that comes with your player and looking for a set of noise-reducing earphones that cuts down the sounds around you so there's no need to crank up the volume.

And, if you think you can monitor volume levels on your own without the proper headphones, forget it. In one study evaluating MP3 player volumes in noisy conditions, 80 percent of the users with standard earbuds listened at higher, riskier levels than those using noise reduction earphones.

HealthScout October 20, 2006


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