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iCan’t Hear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Music players are very important to teens today. We listen to them while we get dressed and on our way to school. We try to sneak our earbuds in during history class; we listen after school, while doing our homework, and before bed. Our iPods and MP3 players have become an important part of our daily schedule, but what teens don't realize is those same ­devices that supply us with so many hours of entertainment are also damaging our hearing.

Most teenagers believe that listening to music for long periods of time is perfectly fine. In fact, we should not use our iPods for more than an hour a day at a reasonable volume (80 decibels or less). This could be a challenge for many teens, who are in the habit of cranking it up and rocking out to their favorite songs. The iPod's volume capacity is more than 115 decibels, which is well beyond the recommended level. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf found that “39 percent of listeners between 18 and 24 years of age do not practice safe listening habits.”

The effects of frequently listening to loud music include permanent hearing loss. The hair cells in the ear – irreplaceable cells that send electrical impulses to the brain – can die from sustained abuse. After going to a rock concert or listening to a lot of loud music, you might hear a soft ringing in your ears called tinnitus. This is an indication of acoustic trauma that over time could result in hearing loss if precautions aren't taken.

iPods and MP3 players offer lots of storage and battery life, allowing teens continuous access to a wide variety of music without giving their ears a break. With exposure to that quantity of loud music, it's no surprise that “acoustic trauma produced by exposure to loud sounds” is the third major cause of hearing loss, according to science writer Robert Finn.

Many teenagers think that only older folks are vulnerable to hearing loss, but many young adults experience acoustic trauma. “Over 28 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and nearly half are younger than 65,” according to The Daily Barometer, Oregon State University's campus paper. With Apple and other MP3 companies releasing new products and features every few months, teenagers across America have unknowingly developed listening habits that are damaging their hearing.

So, what can you do to keep your ears healthy? Turn down the volume on your iPod so the person next to you can't hear the drum beats. Allow your ears to recover after exposure to harmful noise levels. And replace the buds for your iPod with over-the-ear headphones. “Earbuds placed directly into the ear can boost the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels,” according to website Science Daily. That is approximately the difference between the noise of a vacuum and that of a motorcycle.

The ability to hear is a very important gift that we should cherish and preserve by educating ourselves about the activities that could damage it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

scaniok said...
Oct. 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm
Wow! I never have heard of such a thing! “The hair cells in the ear – irreplaceable cells that send electrical impulses to the brain – can die from sustained abuse. After going to a rock concert or listening to a lot of loud music, you might hear a soft ringing in your ears called tinnitus.” I have always noticed that loud pitched ringing in my ear yet, I never suspected it could possibly be from my iPod! I always thought that listening to my iPod in my spare time wa... (more »)
 
musicgirl757 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm
Wow, thank you so much! I'm glad you wrote this, I'll be sure to be more careful. Music is the most important thing in the world thing and I defenitly don't want to do anything to ruin my hearing. Thank you, this is a very good informational passiage. Nice!
 
curlytops replied...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm
no problem, I'm so glad you benefited from it :)
 
Mrs.Morgan said...
Oct. 3, 2009 at 10:59 am
Very nice writing job, Tania. Glad to see you are still writing.
 
curlytops replied...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm
thanks mrs. morgan :)
 
Samantha R. said...
Sept. 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm
I love listening music , but I never could understand why people listen to their ipods/mp3's so loud .Gr8 article!
 
Tania curlytops replied...
Sept. 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm
thx sooooo much guys i really appreciate the feedback!
 
Josiah B. said...
Sept. 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm
One of my friends loves classic rock. So to get the full effect he simply MUST turn up his ipod to full volume. He actually has a little hearing loss already. He is only 14 or 15. Thats a real shame...
 
penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm
Awesome article! This reminds me so much of the kids at school. All they want to do is listen to music all day! I don't understand. This one girl on my bus has her music so loud that everyone can hear exactly was the singer is saying. This article is a very important topic that I hope a lot of teens read.
 
Sunshineyday replied...
Sept. 11, 2009 at 7:35 pm
I like listening to music but I try to be wary of whether people near me can hear it. Once I was in a very qiuet; actually silent room and a woman 3-5 feet away commented that she liked the singer I was listening to ,she meant it honestly, she wasn't teasing, but still I felt so bad cause I thought I was being disruptive AND making myself deaf. I use headphones, not ear buds. Is that safer? Also, I only use it in public, at home if I want music I use a cd/radio.
 
penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 12, 2009 at 7:15 am
Yeah, I like listening to my MP3 player too, but I always make sure that no one else can hear the music.
 
curlytops replied...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm
thanks for the comments guys :) ... I'm so glad you are all trying to be careful and yes headphones are definately safer :)
 
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