Stories about: hearing damage

Listen up: The high volume of hearing loss

Kids and teens regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are almost twice as likely to develop hearing loss than children who aren’t usually around it, according to a recent study by the Archives of Otolaryngology. And if something as seemingly unrelated as second-hand smoke contributes to hearing loss in kids, what else can erode a child’s hearing?

Brian Fligor, ScD, director of Diagnostic Audiology at Children’s Hospital Boston, says everyday things that seem harmless are actually degrading our hearing without us realizing it. “Unfortunately, hearing loss is something that affects a lot of people, but it’s also something we can’t see,” he says. “It’s kind of a sinister thing.”

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EU wants iPods and MP3 players made quieter


Many parents wonder whether their child will suffer from permanent hearing damage due to continually listening to loud iPods and other MP3 players.

So parents all over Europe must have been both worried and relieved last month when the European Union (EU) substantiated their fears and issued new guidelines limiting volume settings and recommended exposure times to protect its citizens’ hearing.

The EU guidelines state:

  • All makers of portable music players must lower their default volume setting from 100 decibels (dB, the sound of a jetliner) to 80 dB (the sound of road traffic)
  • The default level can be overridden by consumers who choose to do so
  • Manufacturers must add a health warning to all new devices within the next two years
  • At 80 dB, exposure should be limited to 40 hours a week
  • According to a BBC news report, these rules were framed in response to new research, which claimed that one in 10 users of portable music devices who listened at high volume for more than one hour per day over five years risked permanent hearing damage.
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