Hearing management

09 May 2011

Listening to MP3 for too long is bad

Not only can listening to loud music through your MP3 player damage your hearing but even lengthy listening at a moderate sound volume can be harmful.

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Not only can listening to loud music through your MP3 player damage your hearing but even lengthy listening at a moderate sound volume can be harmful. That warning came from experts at the Medcare Hospital in Dubai as part of International Noise Awareness Day.

An individual's hearing can be permanently impaired when they listen to music at a moderate level over a period of hours. Listening to music at 90 decibels for eight hours will cause definite hearing loss, said audiologists in Dubai. Ninety decibels is the equivalent of a lawnmower or traffic on a busy highway.

The ear can withstand about eight hours of this sound pressure before cells in the inner ear begin to be damaged. For every five decibels above this, the listening time is halved, meaning you can only tolerate four hours exposure at 95 decibels and two hours at 100 decibels. The experts warned that instant and irreversible damage can be caused at 120 decibels and above.

The experts said MP3 players or similar appliances are safe to use with their volume set at 50 per cent. Music can be listened to for five hours at 60% of the player's volume before one's hearing can be damaged. At 90% of the volume, the time should be limited to just 10-15 minutes with regular rest periods so the ears can recover.

(Sapa, May 2011)

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Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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