The new generation of MP3 players offer significant improvements in sound quality and also provide extended listening time, therefore the likelihood of using the equipment for longer is much greater than it used to be.
Most portable music players are capable of producing sounds up to 105dB, while some even reach120dB. Above 80dB is the level that you are putting your hearing at risk. Loud noise can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, or cochlea, and whilst these hair cells often recover from noise abuse, repeated trauma can cause permanent damage.
General guidelines for safe and sensible MP3 use include:
- Restrict use to short periods – about 20 minutes at a time.
- Do no have the volume too high – about halfway on the volume control should be your maximum level. As a general rule, you should be able to carry on a conversation at a normal level whilst listening to your player.
- Protective filters for the in-the-ear headphones are now widely available, as are headphones which cancel out noise, thereby allowing you to keep the volume at lower levels.
- In-the-ear headphones can increase the volume by 7 to 9dB over and above headphones that sit over the ear.