As kids plug in their earphones and crank up the volume, “Can you hear me now?” threatens to become more than an ad catch phrase.
Small Players Pose a Big Risk
Experts say today’s small digital music players increase the risk of hearing loss for two main reasons:
The earbuds used with iPods and MP3 players fit into the ears, not over them. The sound they deliver is more intense than that of old models.
The files played by digital audio players are distortion-free. Kids can dial up the volume without loss of clarity.
Gauge What’s Too Loud
Experts warn parents that if they have to shout to be heard by their child, or can hear music from their child’s headphones, it’s time to turn the volume down. Constant exposure to loud noise can cause permanent harm to the fragile inner ear.
Turn Kids On to Smart Listening Habits
Noise-induced hearing loss is entirely preventable. To lessen the odds, experts urge media player users to:
Tune them no higher than 60 percent of their top volume. Sixty percent is a little past halfway on the dial.
Take 15-minute “quiet” breaks every few hours.
Speak up if they experience ringing or buzzing in the ears that lasts more than a day. It may be a good idea to see a doctor about these symptoms.
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