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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Head Phones Can Make You Deaf

Listening to loud music with earphones on a digital music player for more than 90 minutes a day can damage your hearing, a US study shows. The study of 100 doctoral students concluded people who listened to music at 80 per cent of volume capacity, at which point the sound is considered loud, should stick to under 90 minutes a day. "If a person exceeds that on one particular day and happens not to use their headphones for the rest of the week, they're at no higher risk," study author Brian Fligor said.

"I'm talking about someone who's exceeding 80 per cent for 90 minutes day after day, month after month, for years." The study also found no problems for people who listened to music at 10 per cent to 50 per cent of maximum volume for extended periods. But it found that anyone who listened at 100 per cent for more than five minutes faced the risk of hearing loss. The findings of the study, co authored by doctoral candidate Cory Portunff, applies to both children and adults.

The researchers do not know if children are more susceptible than adults. The scientists found no differences in sound levels between brands of digital music players or between the genres of music tested, which ranged from rock, R&B, country, to dance. Fligor, an audiologist at the Children's Hospital of Boston and faculty of Harvard Medical School, said people who consistently listen to high levels of a volume don't realise that hearing loss can take up to 10 years to show up.

Head Phones


"I worry about the teenager who's going to be 23, 24, 25 years old and has a measurable noise-induced hearing loss and now has another 60-something years to live with his hearing which is only going to get worse," said Fligor, who will present his study tomorrow to a conference in Cincinnati.

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