Study Says iPod Listeners at Risk for Hearing Loss

By Rashid Grier

(U-WIRE) STORRS, Conn. – Recent studies will leave young iPod
owners grooving to a quieter tune.

According to a University of Connecticut Advance article by
Carolyn Pennington, the iPod generation has a rate of impaired
hearing 2 1/2 times that of their parents and grandparents.

Misusing Apple’s latest iPod technology is not doing anything to
reduce this trend, said Dr. Kent Morest, a professor of
neuroscience at the UConn Health Center.

According to Morest, reversing this trend depends on treating
the ears more delicately and monitoring volume levels.

“It only takes one excessive exposure to cause a
neurodegenerative disease in which synaptic endings continue to
degenerate in the brain and the ear for years after a single
exposure,” Morest said.

The damage occurs in two locations – in the ear itself and the
brain, Morest said.

The hair cells in the ear are responsible for converting sound
into electrical impulses and the brain is responsible for receiving
and processing them.

Apple’s Web site and accompanying iPod manual provides an
in-depth disclaimer to users, stating, “Permanent hearing loss may
occur if ear buds or headphones are used at a high volume. Set the
volume to a safe level.”

According to Joseph Patterson of Louisiana, this is not enough,
and he has filed a lawsuit against Apple. Patterson failed to
suffer hearing damage himself but claims that the product’s ability
to exceed 115 decibels is dangerous and labels the product
defective. According to his attorney, Patterson is asking for cash
compensation for purchasing a faulty product.

Shondell Diaz, a senior psychology major, said that she has a
love for loud music but is aware of the dangerous health risks.

“I have exceeded the volume before on an MP3 player and hurt my
ears, but I love rock concerts so I’m all about loud music,” Diaz
said. “But loud music destroys the hair cells in your ears which
don’t grow back; that’s how people become deaf.”

CNET News reporter Neha Tiwari offers iPod users some helpful
advice to adhere to. First, purchase special earphones that
eliminate background noise or leakage. This will eliminate the need
to increase the volume. Also, iPod offers a volume lock in its
settings to prevent any increase. This feature can be activated by
activating the settings menu, clicking “volume limit,” setting it
to the halfway mark – or a recommended volume level – and then
creating a code. iPod users should also be cautious about the
duration of their listening time, which should not exceed an
hour.

With these points in mind, iPod users will be able to listen to
their MP3s without shuffling over their ear drums.

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