As long as teens have been listening to rock and roll — from transistor radios to Walkmen to Discmen to MP3 players — their parents have been screaming "TURN THAT DOWN! YOU'LL RUIN YOUR HEARING!"
The problem — especially for "Generation i" — is that those damn kids just pump up the volume even further.
That's the finding of researchers at both Colorado University and Children's Hospital in Boston. A study of 30 young iPod users found that teens not only tend to play their music louder than adults but, often, are unaware of how loud they're playing it.
Cory Portnuff, a Colorado audiologist who began studying iPod-related hearing loss in 2006, concluded that that listening to in-ear headphones for 90 minutes a day at 80% volume is probably safe for long-term hearing; drop the volume another 10%, and you can up the playing time to four and a half hours.
The problem arises when teen users assume that relying on their iPod's built-in volume limiter alone is safe. (It's actually not a terrible assumption: after a Louisiana man filed suit against Apple in 2006, claiming the units didn't warn of hearing loss strongly enough, the House of Jobs built limiters into the software to keep the volume at around 100 decibels. Put into perspective: that's still the equivalent of standing next to a pneumatic drill, and not that far away from rock-concert levels.) Couple that with the extended play time on these units, and the risk of cumulative hearing loss increases.
Don't get us wrong: there's a time and a place for chair-rattling Marshall amplifiers — but remember: hearing, once lost, can never be replaced. Which kinda defeats the purpose of even owning an iPod…
[Via Time Magazine online]