; Turn the Music Down- The Ipod Dilemma
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Turn the Music Down- The Ipod Dilemma


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									In the world of music, the iPod is still the hottest MP3 player on the block. The little
white earbuds that come with the iPod are a nearly ubiquitous sight on the bus, the
gym, and around town. But this little status symbol could be creating a generation that
will experience hearing loss after a decade of use.

Although there is no current evidence directly linking iPods with hearing loss, current
available research does show that excessive noise levels over a period of time cause
permanent hearing loss. Even short periods of exposure to very loud noises can cause
permament loss.

The problem with iPod is that the earbud style headphones don't block outside noise,
forcing listeners to turn up the volume. Since iPods are so convenient to use, and so
discreet (the device can easily be tucked into a pocket), people are using them more
often. This combination of frequent use and increased volume could eventually cause
permanent hearing loss.

So, should you get rid of your iPod? In reality, that it is probably unlikely. Instead,
here are four tips to remember while using your iPod.

1. Limit the amount of time that you use the device. Set personal limits of one hour a

2. Keep the volume down to 65-70 decibels, which is the level of normal conversation.
At this time, there is no way to set loudness restrictions on the device. Note that
turning up the volume by 10 decibels can be the difference between a loud motorcycle
(90 dB) and an alarm clock (80 dB).

3. Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Although these earphones are more
expensive (about $50), they are worth it because they limit the amount of background
noise and allow the listener to keep the volume down. Headphones that cover the
entire ear (instead of insertable earbud) are safe and affordable over the long run.

4. Don't allow your kids to have an iPod. If they already have one, limit the use and
monitor the loudness levels. As small as these devices are, it is easy to pop in the
earbuds and listen while in the car, on the bus, etc. If you can hear their music from a
few feet away, the volume is too high.

Our current infatuation with iPods is likely to increase rather than decrease since just
about anything can be downloaded directly to this tiny device. But if you can restrict
the amount of time you spend using an iPod and incorporate more traditional forms of
listening, your ears will thank you and you'll enjoy healthy listening for a long time!

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