Mobile devices have become a necessary and integral part of life for millions of people all over the world. At least 70% of all Americans own some type of smartphones, tablet, MP3 player, cell phone or iPod. The best thing about these devices is that they allow people to communicate, share videos, play games, watch movies and listen to music. The downside to mobile technology is the new set of health risks that they pose to owners. Hearing loss is one type of health problem that affects mobile device users over a period of time.
Audiologists and medical experts claim that hearing loss is becoming more profound among MP3 and iPod users. Many of the people who use this type of technology are teenagers and young adults and health professionals claim that these two groups of people are the most at risk. Many young adults and teens do not believe that their hearing is being impaired. However, the truth is that quite a few people (young and old) will need some types of hearing aids in the future due to damage that is being caused by mobile players.
How a MP3 or iPod does cause harm to a person’s hearing? The answer to this question has to do with decibel and volume levels. Decibels are the basic unit that is used to measure sound. Not all decibel units are the same but they do give a general idea about sound levels and their ranges. According to the National Institutes of Health, people (young and old) shouldn’t consistently expose their hearing to any type of sound that is 85 decibels or higher.
A normal conversation is about 60 decibels loud and city traffic or noise in a restaurant is about 85 decibels high. A chainsaw produces about 110 decibels of noise. A handgun or firecracker can permanently damage a person’s hearing because they produce a 140 decibel sound level. When a person is exposed to sounds that are about 85 decibels or higher over a period of years their hearing will be damaged. Sometimes a person hearing could be diminished and not lost when they expose themselves to loud music over time.
The reason why MP3 players and iPods are so dangerous to a person’s hearing is because the headphones on these devices can produce 140 decibel sound level. This means that a person could damage their hearing in a relative short amount of time by listening to music with this level of sound. Once again, most people are not going to damage their hearing by listening to loud music every once in a while. Hearing loss will come if a person continues to listen to loud music over time.
Listening to music within a set of headphones at a level of 5 or below for an extended period of time is acceptable. Most hearing experts agree that when a person listens to music with headphones on should be able to hear noise in the background. Mobile device manufacturers probably won’t stop making devices with high levels of sound because people need to hear them when they’re not using headphones. So it’s up to the individual (or the parents of minors) to control their sound levels when listening to music.