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iPods and MP3 players have become staples for every college student. Looking around any campus you will see many students walking from class to class, jamming to their favorite tunes. Most students don’t realize, though, that this may be damaging their hearing.
This kind of hearing loss is not caused by just listening to music, but by listening to music at extremely high volumes and for long periods of time. A study done by audiologists Brian Fligor, Sc.D., and Terri Ives concluded that 80 percent of people listen to music at dangerous levels. Dr. Fligor considers these levels to be dangerous if they are over 75 decibels.
The average person usually listens to music at a safe volume. It’s only when background noise is introduced that people start to pump up the volume. This can occur almost anywhere, like when you’re on the bus or running at the gym. The ear can handle occasional loud noises, but constant loud sounds cause damage to the tiny hair cells inside the ear. These hairs send sound information to the brain, and once they are damaged you can never fully regain your hearing.
To prevent hearing loss you don’t have to stop listening to your MP3 player, you just have to turn your music down. If you want to take it a step further, invest in some noise canceling headphones.
Unfortunately, many of these headphones are the massive black ones that no one wants to wear, but here are a few alternatives that you might be willing to be seen in public with:
By Fiona O’Connor