As of this morning, I had reached a point of stoic reserve about covering the whole ditching your MP3 player issue, a topic that I've been avoiding like the plague since it makes me depressed and nostalgic. Happily, I was saved at the last minute by an article about increased hearing loss in adolescents that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) posted yesterday.
As more and more people listen to music on the go, whether through their cell phones or dedicated MP3 players, innumerable ears are exposed an assault of audio through headphones. These listening implements aren't inherently bad, but they can contribute to hearing issues over time if certain precautions aren't taken. The following advice can help to ensure that you continue to hear all sound as nature intended it.
I feel that this should be an obvious point, but it always bears repeating: DON'T listen to your music at ear-splitting levels. The quickest and easiest way to damage your hearing is to expose your ears to overly-loud sounds, music or otherwise; this is the reason that people who work at factories (and some other loud locations) are often required to wear earplugs under local health and safety laws.
So how loud is too loud? Anything over 75 decibels, according to one study. Of course, it's tough for most consumers to accurately measure this; when in doubt, DO employ the volume limiting feature on your listening device. Apple's various iPods and most of Sony's Walkman players include this functionality. Alternatively, you can even pick up a pair of earbuds that ensure safe listening levels, such as the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough earphones.… Read more