A new piece of health news offers a note to on danger to those who love listening to their MP3 players. Advances in crisp audio in these ubiquitous devices have created a potentially serious health hazard.
Researchers have found that one in four teens is in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of these listening habits. While the study assessed teenagers’ music-listening habits and preferred volume, the results are relevant to anyone of any age who routinely uses MP3 players.
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The study showed that, in one to two decades, an entire generation of young people may suffer hearing problems far earlier than natural aging. Hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to loud noise is a slow and progressive process. People may not notice for years that damage is actually occurring.
The study included 289 participants aged 13 to 17 and involved various ways the researchers measured volume levels, which were used to calculate the potential risk to hearing. The researchers say the results are worrisome. A full 80% of teens use MP3 players regularly, with 21% tuned in up to four hours every day and eight percent more than four hours consecutively.
This level of listening exposes people to severe risk for hearing loss.
Currently, industry-related health and safety regulations are the only benchmark for measuring the harm caused by continuous exposure to high volume noise. But there remains a real need for additional music risk criteria in order to prevent music-induced hearing loss. In the meantime, take this health tip: purchase MP3s with a maximum decibel level of 100. That way you won’t be tempted to crank it up when your favorite songs come on.
Interestingly, a few natural remedies have been studied for use against healing loss caused by noise. One was a two-month study of 300 military recruits. It found that taking a magnesium supplement every day helped protect the ear from noise-induced damage. Though a small dose, just 167 milligrams, those who took it were less likely to have hearing damage. It is a safe way to potentially keep your hearing intact if you’re around noise a lot.
As well, there is interesting but conflicting evidence that ginkgo biloba could help protect against sudden hearing loss. An animal study suggests that melatonin may help prevent hearing loss induced by noise.