iPod earbuds could cause hearing loss | iLounge News


iPod earbuds could cause hearing loss

The type of earbud headphones that come bundled with every iPod sold can cause serious hearing loss, according to a Northwestern University professor and audiologist. The earbuds can lead to permanent damage after only an hour of high-volume music in the 110- to 120-decibel range, the equivalent of a concert, said professor Dean Garstecki. He recommends switching to over-the-ear headphones, listening to your tunes no more than an hour a day, and turning down the volume.

“Insert earphones can boost the signal by as much as six to nine decibels. That’s about the difference between the sound of a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle,” said Garstecki. “It’s a significant difference.” He also noted that the storage space on iPods contributes to problems. “Not only do you have a signal that is likely to be more intense, you’re likely to be using this device longer than people have been using CD players and Walkmans in the past. This increases the likelihood of hearing loss down the road.”

For a more complete article about this issue please read “Listen Safely: Your Ears and Your iPod” by iLounge’s Kirk McElhearn.

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He recommends setting the volume to “6 or lower”. On a scale of 1 to 10? For which iPods? What about different headphones that fit differently or have different sensitivities? What about the shuffle?

Completely and utterly useless. This is news how?

Posted by mattwardfh on December 20, 2005 at 4:27 PM (CST)


why can’t you just keep the volume at a reasonable level? why should you switch headphones? How about we just not buy earbud earphones ever again?

NEWSFLASH: Listening to music with ANY headphones a high volume for a long period of time can cause hearing loss!

Posted by Rick on December 20, 2005 at 4:29 PM (CST)


iPod earbuds can cause hearing loss?? NO WAY!! I am shocked to hear this news ...

Posted by Lars on December 20, 2005 at 4:30 PM (CST)


what? WHAT? speak UP! I can hardly hear ya!
What’s a pairing toss? How the hell should I know?

Posted by ahMEmon on December 20, 2005 at 4:37 PM (CST)


Just like two beers now constitutes binge drinking.

What is wrong with all these anti fun people?

Posted by iPodG5 on December 20, 2005 at 4:51 PM (CST)


What isn’t mentioned (and I wish they would fact-check this stuff) is that Apple earbuds—and most earbuds, in fact—don’t “go to 11”. They only support a decibel range of at most 109db - at least, that’s the highest I’ve been able to find.  There’s much greater chance of hearing loss from high-end over-the-head cans that go way past 120db…

Posted by Christopher on December 20, 2005 at 5:03 PM (CST)


“but no one listens to JUST one hour of music a day. And if you enjoy your music, you CANNOT get “into it

Posted by stark23x on December 20, 2005 at 5:05 PM (CST)


<sigh> .. how long before someone sues?

Posted by gadgetboy1 on December 20, 2005 at 5:32 PM (CST)


I’D be willing to lose MY hearing for a couple million! :) *lol*

Posted by Rick on December 20, 2005 at 5:43 PM (CST)


I agree with the article. I was listening to my ipod with an in-ear headphone today, but i had to stop because i had an earache (yea, it’s possible).

Posted by matt on December 20, 2005 at 5:46 PM (CST)


Why do they not accept that actually using in ear phones may cause less hearing damage than over the ear phones, due to the fact you will be playing at lower levels as they cut out ambient sound. I know that I use the Shure E2/Ety ER6 at lower level than say the Sennheisers.
They will always be risks to hearing from music devices - from the very first phonograph, electric amplifier, Walkman and now iPod!

You sure you are not suffering from earache caused by wearing uncomfortable phones? And don’t forget, according to yet more research wearing earphones for an hour raises bacteria levels in the ears by 700 times.

This reminded me to remove the EU cap on my iPod…

Posted by Bob Levens on December 20, 2005 at 5:58 PM (CST)


I have a life and listen to way more than 1 hour of music a day. I can’t enjoy my music unless it’s atleat at medium-high volume

Posted by I Luv My Pod on December 20, 2005 at 6:12 PM (CST)


Who listens to their music at “the sound of a vacuum cleaner” anyway?

If it’s (really) quiet, I can listen to mine at about 5% of the max, but it rarely passed 60%.

Posted by EricS2008 on December 20, 2005 at 6:46 PM (CST)


This is ridiculous.  Is Apple the only company that sells earbuds?  No.  But do people tend to single out iPods as the source of the problem?  Yes.  Im sure Sony, Pioneer, and just about every other electronics company who sells earbuds have their own models that are just as loud or louder than Apple’s.  Is there a huge uproar for those companies?  No.  But when Apple comes out with their own product people want to nitpick and find something to say negative about it, and give off the perception that Apple is the cause of these problems as if they didn’t exist before Apple came out with their product.  And then to even blame the storage capacity of the iPods?  That is beyond retarded. 

Just like all those people who said iPods are the cause of murders because people are mugging other people for them.  Yea people are getting mugged for their iPods, as well as for their watches, wallet, hat, shoes, jacket, necklace.  Have you ever read an article about Rolex causing more mugging in the streets?  This is ridiculous.

Posted by Ray on December 20, 2005 at 7:20 PM (CST)


Haha - http://www.northwestern.edu/univ-relations/broadcast/2005/12/players.html

At foot of article - “Download to listen in MP3 format (1.6MB)”

Just make sure you listen at “6”......

This was news back in May this year - http://news.scotsman.com/health.cfm?id=495772005 - maybe if Prof Garstecki got out of his office a bit more and read the news he might realise he had been wasting his time….

Posted by Bob Levens on December 20, 2005 at 7:27 PM (CST)


i listen to more than 1hour a day. Maybe 2.

but i rarely go pass half the volume bar thing and i’m using sony MDREX71’s. So i guess it wont be such a big problem. Although i know ppl at school who blasts their music very loud. I tried to tell them that when they get old, they will be deaf but they dont belive me

Posted by Dougboy on December 20, 2005 at 7:35 PM (CST)


It’s amazing some ppl just don’t know that loud volumes can cause hearing loss. It was common sense to me since I was young. Several ppl in my school thought it was ridiculous! Weird…

Posted by hoho on December 20, 2005 at 9:07 PM (CST)


If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Posted by Galley on December 20, 2005 at 9:23 PM (CST)


Tell that to Pete Townsend.

Hearing, like life, is a gift. Abuse it and you will lose it. The high pitched whine haunts me when I go to sleep, and I rarely used ‘phones, just liked it loud. Go ahead, you’ve been warned, the choice is up to each one of you.

My collection has the volume truned down for all my library. I hope to not need hearing aids in another 20 years.

BTW, decibels has no direct relationship to the 1-10 on the volume. Every 3 dB is a doubling of loudness. 80-85 dB is good for the long haul. Headaches and ear fatigue are signs to slow down, fast.

Posted by David on December 20, 2005 at 9:47 PM (CST)


“Who listens to their music at “the sound of a vacuum cleaner

Posted by Cameron T. on December 21, 2005 at 12:26 AM (CST)

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