- The duration of time listening
- Closeness to the source of the sound
- How loud the music is played
No matter how loud the music is turned up when you listen to it, the basic rule is that the longer you listen, the more you stress the muscles in the inner ear. Fatigue of the ear may result in a temporary threshold shift, limiting the amount of quiet sounds that you can hear. MP3 players are more likely to cause hearing loss than older portable music devices. They provide high-quality sound at very high volumes, and users tend to listen longer than ever before.
Tips for Protecting Your Hearing:
- Take regular breaks from your headphones to give your ears a rest, the risk of damage increases with length of exposure.
- Turn down the volume a notch - even a small reduction in volume can make a big difference to the risk of damage to your hearing.
- Avoid using the volume to drown out background noise, for example the sound of the train or traffic (find out about additions to in-ear headphones that help with this problem).
- If your MP3 player has a ’smart volume’ feature, use it so you have control of the volume you are listening at.
- Remember - if you have ringing in your ears or dull hearing after listening to your MP3 or personal stereo, it is a serious warning that the music was loud enough to damage your hearing.
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