MP3 players are leading to more and more hearing problems in young people, with damage to the inner ear now registered in one in five 16 to 20-year-olds, German doctors warned on Tuesday.
Hearing problems usually associated with old age are now being noticed in people as young as 20, the German association of ear, nose and throat specialists (HNO) said.
Under European Union rules, the maximum volume for portable audio devices is 100 decibels, but the HNO warned this is too loud. In workplaces, employees are required to wear ear protectors when noise levels are 85 decibels, they said.
The association called on makers of the devices to behave more "responsibly" and clearly inform their customers of the health dangers of listening to music too loudly.