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Listening to an MP3 player can be harmful to your hearing sensitivity


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22 June 2010 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

MP3 PlayerListening to an MP3 player can be harmful to your hearing sensitivity, according to a recent study at the Ghent University, involving 10 men and 11 women with ages between 19 and 28 years.

According to the study authors: “Excessive noise exposure can lead to metabolic and/or mechanical effects resulting in alterations of the structural elements of the organ of Corti [the inner ear organ in mammals that contains auditory sensory cells or ‘hair cells’]. The primary damage is concentrated on the outer hair cells, which are more vulnerable to acoustic overstimulation that inner hair cells.”

Hannah Kempler, M.S. and colleagues studied the short-term effects on the auditory system of 21 young adults listening to an MP3 player for one hour using two measurements: one that studied sounds emitted in response to an acoustic stimuli of very short duration and one that studied sounds emitted in response to two simultaneous tones of different frequencies.

After evaluating the participant’s hearing before and after one hour, researchers found significant changes between pre-exposure and post-exposure measurements using one set of criteria, but did not find much difference when using the second set.

The authors conclude that, “the development of a permanent threshold shift cannot be predicted from the initial temporary threshold shift, but considering the reduction in hearing sensitivity after listening to a portable media player, these devices are potentially harmful. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term risk of cumulative recreational noise exposures.”




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