Scientists have warned that the improper usage of MP3 and iPods, like listening to music at high decibels can contribute towards affecting the hearing capabilities of a person. The University of Michigan's Director of Audiology Paul R. Kileny revealed that such devices are not inherently unhealthy and will inflict damage only if not used in the proper manner. Most people find them irresistible, and use them for hours together, which will definitely affect hearing, according to him.
If conversations and other noises are blocked, the player is too loud. Kileny posited that future generations of the machines might best be fitted with lights or some other notice of excessive decibel measures. Representatives at Apple and Sony, two of the biggest manufacturers of these appliances, did not respond to questions. But one industry association agreed with Kileny's advice.
Jennifer Boone, spokeswoman for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) also warned against prolonged exposure to these gadgets. Exposure to loud noise can damage the soft tissue of the ear, causing hearing loss. About 10 million Americans have this kind of a hearing problem according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Earlier, a study showed that too much noise can also lead to tinnitus, a ringing, whistling or clicking in the ears. The American Tinnitus Association estimates that up to 90% of tinnitus patients have some level of noise-induced hearing loss. The current concern about MP3s is slightly different from previous warnings about loud concerts, or the Walkman you put away when you got the iPod. The difference is one of degree.
Ears recover, or seem to, from raucous rock concerts, though over years of concerts the damage is done. And most people weren't comfortable enough with the weight of a Walkman or clunky headphones to keep them on long enough to do harm.