Or maybe it's not so clear, after regarding a meta-study from the University of Minnesota. Researchers there found that 15 percent of the university's marching band members suffered from hearing loss, but after tracking them for a year and averaging out multiple test results, researchers found that more than half of the noise-induced hearing loss disappeared. Those same researchers said that false positive results can account for around 10 percent of the 14.9 percent hearing loss discovered in the 1988-94 JAMA study.
Listening to anything at a high volume for a long enough period of time will induce hearing loss. That goes for your car stereo, speakers blaring at a concert, and yes, iPods. Are more people listening to music via headphones now versus 1988-94? Probably. Is a portion of that increase due to the iPod's popularity? Almost definitely. Does that automatically mean there's an epidemic of iPod-induced teen deafness? It certainly sounds like a plausible theory, but with one study already questioning the JAMA results, the question is far from settled.
I will say that I'm occasionally astonished at the volume of music bleeding from people's white earbuds as they pass by. I can't listen to music on my iPhone at more than about 60 percent of maximum before it starts to hurt my ears, so I can't imagine what kind of damage these people are doing to their hearing. There's really no excuse for it, either. If you've got a child with an iPod, setting a volume limit on it is trivial. And if you're just trying to drive away the noise of the outside world, a decent set of canalphones is a whole lot cheaper and more convenient in the long run than a hearing aid.
[via Cult of Mac]