Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tinnitus dangers for the IPod generation

The walkman and portable CD players are yesterday’s news, the iPod generation has officially taken over. These new hip portable music players, commonly known has MP3 players, have taken the world by storm not only by changing the way people perceive their music but also in the way they hear it. With the popularization of the MP3 player, people started listening to music on the go, whilst driving, working, eating, walking, exercising, satisfying their music desires all day long, anywhere and everywhere.
The problem resides in the fact that today’s youth spend hours every day listening to loud music on their MP3 players, frequently without any intervals for long periods of time. But the question we should be asking ourselves is, can these very trendy MP3 players cause earring damage and tinnitus? Pete Townshend, guitarist for the very popular 60’s rock band “The Who” believes that his tinnitus and consequent hearing loss wasn’t a direct result of their incredibly loud live performances but rather from using headphones while in the recording studio. Although the band was notoriously known for their excessively loud concerts, Pete Townshend explained that what really hurt his earring were the many hours he spent in recording studios and from listening to tracks for recreational purposes all through headphones.
Many believe that digital MP3 players introduced even a greater risk of tinnitus because they are more powerful and can hold substantially larger quantities of music. The old cassette walkmans and portable CD players (Discman) where quite large when compared with a MP3 player and because they required Cassettes or CD to play music, users never used them for very long periods of time without intervals. Even the most modest MP3 player can hold hundreds of songs and because these gadgets have a powerful rechargeable battery users can listen to music non stop for hours on end.
Many Specialists have repeatedly warned MP3 users that listening to very loud music with earphones could cause catastrophic and irreversible hearing damage. Furthermore, prolonged use, even if at reasonable moderate volume, could also represent a threat because today’s modern earphones are normally introduced directly into the ear. The concern is so serious that experts have even gone has far as saying that MP3 players should be designed to prevent users from playing music above 90 decibels.
If you are a MP3 user there are a few things you could do to limit your risks of contracting tinnitus. First, always play your music at a moderate volume, remember that it doesn’t take much to damage your hearing. Even occasional users are at risk if music is played too loud. Do not use a MP3 for very long periods of time, according to experts these devices should never be used for longer than one hour per day.
Last of all, if you are a regular MP3 user and think you might have suffered some hearing loss or damage, stop using any type of earphones or listening to loud music and visit a Hearing Specialist.