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'Can You Hear Me Now?' iPods Cause Ear Damage

BRUSSELS, Belgium (Hypebot) – EU scientists sounded the alarm yesterday about the dangers of using digital music players, warning that listening to them too long and at too high a volume can cause permanent hearing loss. They found that 5-10% of those who listen to MP3 players for more than an hour a day weekly at a high volumes risk permanent hearing loss.

They study says that 184 to 246 million portable audio devices had been sold over the last years, including 124-165 million MP3 players. That means that between 2.5 million and 10 million people are at risk. The panel found that people who listen for only 5 hours a week with a volume above 89 decibels would exceed the current limits in place for noise allowed in the workplace. Users listening for longer periods risk permanent hearing loss after five years, according to their findings.

EU rules already restrict noise levels from such MP3s to 100 decibels, but the European Commission said that there was growing concern about excessive exposure to such devices, especially among youths.