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Turn down music and save your eardrums

Staff Report • Sep 13, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Here’s something people young and old should keep in mind when listening to music on their smartphone, iPod or other MP3 player: Blasting those tunes through your headphones can result in hearing problems.“Turn it down” has been a warning parents have given to their children for years. And it’s still good advice. Audiologists fear young people in particular are causing serious damage to their hearing by listening to loud music through earphones for extended periods of time. This practice is likely to result in tinnitus and loss of hearing in later years.A national study released a few years ago found as many as 6.5 million American teens could suffer some hearing loss. But it’s not just teens who risk hearing loss by listening to loud music through headphones. Adults, too, can suffer the consequences. Some hearing experts believe MP3 players should be designed to prevent people playing music above 90 decibels, about two-thirds of the maximum volume of a typical device. Audiologists also warn that earbuds, the style of headphones favored by many listeners, may be particularly harmful. If the earbuds don’t fit properly, the user will turn up the volume to block outside noise. By using common sense and caution when using headphones, Americans can protect their hearing and look forward to enjoying their music well into their golden years.

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