Teen Hearing Risk From MP3 Players

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TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 28 (UPI) — Twenty-five percent of teens are in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of MP3 players, researchers in Israel say.

Chava Muchnik of Tel Aviv University, Dr. Ricky Kaplan-Neeman, Dr. Noam Amir and Ester Shabtai studied teens’ music listening habits and took acoustic measurements of preferred listening levels.

MP3 players permit users to listen to crystal-clear audio at high volume for hours on end, but the personal listening devices are a serious health hazard, with teenagers as the most at-risk group, the researchers said.

The results, published in the International Journal of Audiology, demonstrated teens have harmful music-listening habits when it comes to iPods and other MP3 devices.

“In 10 or 20 years it will be too late to realize that an entire generation of young people is suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural aging,” Muchnik said in a statement.

Hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to loud noise is a slow and progressive process and people may not notice the harm they are causing until years of accumulated damage begin to take hold, Muchnik warns.

“Those who are misusing MP3 players today might find that their hearing begins to deteriorate as early as their 30s and 40s — much earlier than past generations,” Muchnik said.

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