That scientists and health experts believe portable music players and the habit of listening to music wherever we go very detrimental to our health is not news. Though the voices saying this is nothing but gross exaggeration are many, a new study comes to show that even as little as one hour of listening to music on an MP3 player, with earphones on at high volume is very dangerous in terms of what it does to our hearing, the Daily Mail
Though previous studies underlined that limited time on the earphones could significantly reduce hearing damage, new research demonstrates that as little as an hour is enough to do harm, especially if we play music at high volumes. The study included two groups: one of 21 people aged 19-28 who were exposed to pop and rock on their MP3 players at different volumes for no more than an hour, and another that was the control group, which was not exposed to music at all. The results showed that those in the first group stood to suffer from hearing damage in the long run.
“It is well known that excessive occupational noise exposure can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Excessive noise exposure can lead to metabolic and mechanical effects resulting in alterations of the structural elements of the inner ear that contains auditory sensory cells or ‘hair cells.’ The primary damage is concentrated on the outer hair cells, which are more vulnerable to acoustic over-stimulation than inner hair cells,” lead researcher Hannah Kempler says of the findings.
Based on this, yes, one may conclude by saying that portable music devices are very harmful. Still, more studies are due in order to establish accurately the kind of damage they can inflict on one’s hearing. “Considering the reduction in hearing sensitivity after listening to a portable media player, these devices are potentially harmful. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term risk of cumulative recreational noise exposures,” Kempler says.
Following surveys that showed that many people (especially teens) had made a habit of listening to music on their earphones for several hours in a row at maximum volume, hearing experts came up with the 60/60 rule. As its name suggests, it implies listening to music for no more than an hour at a time, at 60 percent of maximum volume.