Keeping Your Ears Safe From the iPod
November 07, 2006
If you turn the volume to maximum on a typical MP3 player, such as an iPod, for more than five minutes a day, it could permanently damage your hearing.
There is a particular danger if you listen in a noisy environment, as that encourages the use of higher-than-safe volumes.
A study measured the sound levels produced through the standard "bud" headphones that come with the players, along with "isolator" earphones that block background noise and "supra-aural" earphones that are placed above the ear.
The researchers concluded that, for all earphone types, most people can listen without harm for 4.6 hours a day at 70 percent of full volume, and 1.2 hours a day at 80 percent of full volume.
But full volume listening should not exceed five minutes a day for bud earphones, three minutes with noise-reduction earphones, or 18 minutes with the supra-aural style.
However, according to a second study that examined the dependence of volume choice on background noise and earphone styles, noise-reduction earphones encourage listening at lower volumes when there is loud background noise, so are more highly recommended than the other styles.