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The iPod and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Jan 2nd 2010

Have you heard about that lawsuit against the iPod?

Apparently, the plaintiffs had argued that the iPod ear buds are designed to be placed deep in the ear canal, which increases the danger of hearing damage. They also said that iPods pose a danger because of their lack of volume meters or noise-isolating properties, despite being capable of producing sound as loud as 115 decibels.

The good news is the federal appeals court rejected this lawsuit because the plaintiffs failed to show that use of the iPod poses an unreasonable risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Wait – noise-induced hearing loss? You mean music-induced hearing loss?

Hearing loss results from frequent exposure to loud noise, or in this case music. This subjects the hair cells in your ear to sustain more of that damage.

And while there are still continued reports on how personal music players (PMP’s) are increasing the risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL, or maybe in some instances, music-induced hearing loss), there are some of the myths that have surfaced. In a May 26, 2009 issue in American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, there were 10 myths that have been discussed. I’ve listed on 3 that I think are more relevant than the rest:

MYTH 1: Personal music players are a primary reason for NIHL in children.

Although PMP use may be implicated in NIHL, it is unlikely that PMPs are the primary reason for the occurrence of notched high-frequency hearing loss configurations at young ages.

MYTH 3: Insert earphones are worse than other styles of earphones for your ears.

Some in-the-canal earphones that isolate the ear from background noise are actually used at lower listening levels than over-the-ear earphones that have lower maximum output because the users don’t have to ramp up the volume to hear over the ambient sound.

MYTH 10: Today’s PMP technology puts listeners at greater risk.

Perhaps the concern that current PMP technology is more “dangerous” is that their storage and power supply capacity far exceeds earlier technology, allowing a person to listen longer.

For more of those myths, read more here.

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3 Responses

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  2. doczoe (33 comments) says:

    thanks so much! sorry for the late reply, though. 😉

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