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Tanya Grassi
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (3): 187.
Published online: 3 August 2009

Technological improvements in MP3 music player technology may make for a better listening experience, but they are also likely to lead to greater hearing loss in teenagers. Better sound quality without distortion at higher volumes, minimal sound leakage from better earphones, and the increased volume delivered by earbud-style earphones all contribute, along with newer music recordings being made with much stronger compression (which makes the average sound level closer to the maximal output level). A study of 1687 Dutch secondary school students showed that 90% used MP3 players with earphones to listen to music, 33% used them for more than an hour every day and 48% used high-volume settings. Frequent users were more likely to listen at higher volumes, and overall, teenagers were unlikely to engage in any protective actions such as taking breaks, reducing the volume, using noise limiters or heeding warnings about potential hearing loss.

  • Tanya Grassi


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