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iPod earbuds can cause hearing loss

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by dan, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. For all those riders addicted to music on the bike, this is interesting.


    "A Northwestern University professor and audiologist claims that the earbud-style headphones which ship with Apple's iPod and other MP3 players can cause serious, permanent hearing loss. "Insert earphones can boost the signal by as much as six to nine decibels. That's about the difference between the sound of a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle," said Dean Garstecki, a professor at Northwestern. "It's a significant difference." The earbud-style headphones which rest inside the ear can lead to permanent damage after just an hour of high-volume music in the 110-120 decibel range, equivalent to the noise level of a concert, according to the professor. Garstecki says the large storage capacity of iPods also contributes to problems: "not only do you have a signal that is likely to be more intense, you're likely to be using this device longer than people have been using CD players and Walkmans in the past. This increases the likelihood of hearing loss down the road."
    The professor said that rock and rap music are the most dangerous, since they're typically played at a higher volume than other genres, such as classical or jazz, according to a report from InformationWeek. Garstecki recommends listening no more than an hour a day, switching to over-the-ear headphones, and turning down the volume on iPods to six or lower to minimize hearing loss. MacNN in mid-August reported the results of a study in Australia conducted by the National Acoustic Laboratories, suggesting that up to 25 percent of people will have hearing problems caused by listening to their iPods at "excessive and damaging" levels."
  2. All right! Time to sue!

    Never mind that you may have been riding without ear-plugs all your life, and have attended every Jimmy Barnes concert, camped out in front of the main speaker column while your nose bleeds from the air pressure. Apple has lots of money, so the iPod's are to blame, not the idiot behind the volume control!
  3. Just put the volume lower.
  4. That always seemed like a no-brainer to me - particularly while riding. You'd have to turn them up pretty damn loud to get over the wind noise, and so you'd have this extra volume blasting directly into your ears instead of having earplugs to reduce the noise.

    But that's just lil' ole hearing damaged me.
  5. i am wondering if anyone has thought of or found any ear plug style earphone?? ie. ones that is soft like a ear plug, but it has a earphone inbuilt so it cuts out the wind and road noise, but plays the music. This may be the ideal thing.
  6. I dunno man, that seems even worse to me - you'd have the speaker within your ear canal, a very short distance from your eardrum.

    Makes my eyes water just thinking about it!
  7. There are noise-cancelling ear-phones. They monitor the music signal, and have a little micro-phone on the outside of the ear-phone itself that monitors the external noise. A device then calculates the opposite of the noise and generates a cancelling signal that gets delivered to the ear. The noise enters the ear, but the earphone generates a corresponding anti-signal, mixed with the music signal, that cancels the noise out before it reaches the ear-drum.

    What would be cool would be ear-phones that did this, without the need for a music signal.
  8. oh for crying out loud - loud music causes hearing loss no matter WHERE it comes from.
  9. Ear-bud type headphones definitely do carry an increased risk of hearing damage as compared to over-the-ear headphones. The problem lies not so much with volume as such, as it does with the "sound pressure level".

    Ear-bud type headphones when sealed/pushed into the ear canal form an air piston between the eardrum and the headphone speaker/driver. This is where the danger lies as there is little to no dissipation of the air/sound pressure other than directly on the eardrum.

    Over-the-ear headphones by their very design act on a greater area, dissipating some of the sound pressure level on the outer ear etc.

    I was warned off using any ear-bud type headphones quite some time ago by a friend of mine who is a sound engineer and used to do front-of-house for ACDC before they went overseas. I figure he'd have enough of an idea about sound, given his ears were his "living".
    Anyways, hope this is of some help ....
  10. Noise cancelling earphones are the way to go. The have detect 'outside' noise and then play the exact opposite sound through the headphone therefore 'cancelling' out the noise (well that's how i understand it anyway) Therefore you can have your music softer as you don't have to try and turn it up loud enough to get over all the outside noise!
  13. you don't need to play music through noise cancellers for them to work. I've got some sennheisers here and they work stand alone or plugged into a signal source exactly the same.
  14. umm, what exactly IS the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle? (aside from the harley vacuum is the only one that a) doesn't suck or b) has the dirt bag on top)
  15. I have one which works well. Had it custom made at the stall next to Australian Road Rider at the last bike expo. (They advertise in ARR - can't remember the name)

    Moulded to the ear - it cuts out most noise I can still hear sirens, car horns etc. but don't need it really loud for the music. I still don't use an MP3 player in town though but if the trip is an hour or more - especially on boring roads - I use it.

    Not cheap but it also worked well to cut out the sound of a certain Handbasket person snoring in the next tent up at the Southern Classic Rally :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

  16. As a former DJ, I hear a lot less in one ear than the other....

    Using the mixers you would think that the ear that has less hearing is the ear closest to the speakers.... but instead it is that ear which I thought was weird up until a few moments ago...

    I never ever thought about the fact that on the other ear I would have a single ear piece to hear the music I was mixing in...
  17. My ears are safe if I listen to Jazz right :LOL:
  18. Yup, its just your brain
  19. do any of you ride while lisetn to music? like ipod sorta style.. , doesnt make you lose concentration does it??
  20. i have just purchased an ipod and couldnt even imagine turning the volume up that loud. i have it just loud enough so its comfortable ans so i can still hear whats around me..