My parents, like most parents, always said that if I listen to loud music, I will go deaf. Well, now it’s official. The iPod, as well as other portal music players, can lead to deafness, says the European Commission. With their latest act they decided to limit the maximum sound level of music devices at 80db. What do you know, my momma was right about something for a change!
Since the ruling, Apple as well as other suppliers will be required to place warnings regarding hearing degradation on their packages. A more pragmatic option would be to develop a special visual notification on the device screen when the user is jamming with their favourite headphones for extended periods.
The plans (which is to be published today) will also require manufacturers to limit the maximum sound pressure level to the 80 decibels which the EU deem safe (if listened to no more than 40 hours per week). Users may increase the sound level above the limit if they wish, but will be required to view a warning message.
The recent study by the EU Commission of Science showed that listening to loud music in headphones for an hour per day for 5 or more years may lead to permanent loss of hearing. The experts also came to the conclusion that a constant level of noise higher than 89 db may be hazardous to one’s health.
Just for your information, common maximum sound levels for modern MP3 players usually range between 80 and 115 decibels and according the the study, headphone usage may increase that level by 7-9 dB. The experts at the Royal National Institute for the Deaf in Great Britain have found that more than two thirds of the portable music device owners listen to music at volumes greater than 85 db.
In 2006 Apple added a special setting to all of their devices to limit the maximum sound level, a move they implemented following a lawsuit in the US about loss of hearing due to iPod usage.
Be safe and keep an eye on your hearing.
If you are still undaunted, head on over to our headphone section and remember that inner earphones can be used to attenuate much of the damaging volume a digital audio player outputs, but it is best to listen smartly. The poor sod who lost their hearing did so not because of Apple, but because they, like the lady who microwaved her cat, couldn’t connect one and one.