NIH: More research needed for iPod hearing risk | iLounge News


NIH: More research needed for iPod hearing risk

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that further research is needed to determine whether portable music players and earbud headphones increase the risk of hearing loss. NIH commented on the issue in response to a lawmaker’s request for a review of hearing problems associated with iPod earbud usage.

Reuters reports: “Earbud headphones, like the ones typically used with iPods, project sound directly into the ear canal, while traditional earmuff-style headphones allow the sound to diffuse, the NIH said in a February 14 letter made available on Tuesday. The proximity of the source of the sound to the ears can contribute to hearing loss, but ‘more research is required to determine if a particular type (of earphone) increases the risk,’ said James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.”

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God, some of you people are idiots.  The clickwheel IS oversensitive (otherwise older versions of the ipod would also have this issue) and the hold function is NOT designed for the sole, or even primary, purpose of mitigating this problem (otherwise other devices like cd players would not need to have them).  But if you want to flick your hold switch until it breaks, that’s fine by me.

Posted by jarofchris on March 16, 2006 at 12:24 PM (CST)


When I upload songs to my iPod, I have the controls set so that the recording volume is at zero (neutral) and I don’t use EQ or volume equalization on the tracks. The result is that I can listen with earbuds at 1/2 to 2/3 volume quite comfortably. I was concerned that if I equalized the volume on all tracks, that the “highs” would get muted and the “lows” might drop out. When I plug in the iPod to a boom box or home stereo, the output is very weak so I crank up the volume on that unit or use a pre-amp. What are your experiences with adjusting the iTunes controls to affect the volume - during the uploading process?

Posted by Dharmagirl on March 16, 2006 at 2:54 PM (CST)


A bug in the software of the Therac-25 radiation therapy machine that killed six people would qualify in my mind as a product that was “deeply flawed”.

An iPod whose volume suddenly jumps because the user doesn’t use the hold switch? Personally I don’t find that all that terrible. But maybe that’s just me.

Posted by Moe on March 16, 2006 at 3:38 PM (CST)


maybe that’s because it hasn’t happened to you moe. 

and by your analogy there is no way for the ipod to be ‘deeply flawed’ since it can’t kill anyone regardless of what is wrong with it. 

but if you go by the purpose for which the ipod is intended (listening to music) and the relative harm it is capable of causing (hearing issues) then yes, there is a problem.

Posted by jarofchris on March 16, 2006 at 4:47 PM (CST)


man I just got an ipod and all of this hearing loss is freakin me out. Everyone’s sayin that kids are going deaf and now i’m scasred to even put the earbuds in my ear.

Posted by idontwannagodeaf on March 16, 2006 at 6:05 PM (CST)


ive had a mini for like a year and a half and i regularly use the hold switch as described and it hasn’t broken. maybe you’re just the only person that insists on not using it, giving rise to your assumption that earlier models haven’t had this ‘problem’. i dont see why it’s so difficult for you to just use the freakin hold switch.. my goodness.

Posted by nick on March 17, 2006 at 12:17 AM (CST)


kdontwannagodeaf, just buy a pair of GOOD headphones. They’re not that expensive as you can buy a good pair of sonys for 30 dollars (not the earbuds) or you can buy the noise canceling sonys for 60, although this is/can be considered a high cost its worth it if you don’t want to go deaf (when in fact you probably wouldn’t be deaf, your hearing just wouldn’t be as aquite)

Posted by gustav on March 18, 2006 at 12:38 PM (CST)


They do. Trust me. I’ve got a mild bit of tinnitus at the moment thanks to using in-ears.

It really got bad after going to the strokes, and the automatic on another night, but both times it’s cleared up to the level it was before-faint but annoying, especially at night.

It’s getting better now that i’m using normal headphones (nicked off an airplane!), but they say it can be permanent, which is scary.

Don’t use them kids!

Posted by Jade on March 18, 2006 at 8:31 PM (CST)


You go to concerts? Maybe the exposure to loud music over a period of time has caused the tinnitus? If you are a regular gig-go’er then that may be the problem?

I know I went to an AC/DC (supported by Def Leppard - should have known then…) concert many many years ago and my ears were actually ringing for 3 days afterwards.

And using airline earphones is probably not a good idea - they are cheap throwaway phones and the ones I have tried on my iPods usually require high levels of volume to be heard properly.

You say you used “in-ears” - do you mean earbuds or In-Ear-Monitors like Shure/Etymotic/UltimateEars?
If used correctly the IEMs allow for lower levels of volume because they exclude external noise, which the earbud type do not. Try using a pair on a flight and compare them to the airline phones.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on March 19, 2006 at 6:28 AM (CST)

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