Blaring headphones linked to hearing loss in children - study

  • 15/06/2018
You should only listen at 60 percent maximum volume, experts say.
You should only listen at 60 percent maximum volume, experts say. Photo credit: Getty

Scientists have found a link between children's hearing loss and listening to loud music through headphones. 

The effect of portable music players on the hearing of children is unclear. But Dutch scientists claim to have found a link between blaring headphones and hearing loss. 

The scientists studied 2075 children, half of whom had a portable music player. They discovered that around one in seven of the kids with portable music players showed signs of noise-related hearing problems. 

These hearing problems are said to have made the children less able to hear high frequencies than their peers who did not own a portable music player. The children were too young to have had their hearing damaged by attending loud music concerts or events. 

One of the clearest signs that headphones are damaging hearing is a ringing in your ears after the headphones are removed, otolaryngology Professor M Charles Liberman of Harvard Medical School told Time. 

Cases of young people damaging their hearing as a result of listening to loud music through headphones go back decades. 

In 2009, Kiwi Sebastian Hunt, 16 at the time, said he listened to his iPod for up to five hours a day, which caused him to have irreversible hearing damage. 

"It's the regular and prolonged use of gadgets like iPods that's of concern, particularly when they're paired with earbuds, which deliver the sound directly into the ear canal," said audiologist Sargunam Sivaraj. 

James Foy, an osteopathic paediatrician from California, says you should only use MP3 devices at "levels up to 60 percent of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes a day". 

"The louder the volume, the shorter your duration should be. At maximum volume, you should listen for only about five minutes a day."