If your child is one of the 304 million people who currently utilize an iPod, they could potentially be damaging their hearing. Research in recent years has demonstrated the startling trend that noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise, especially among children and teens.
Today, one in eight children aged 6-19 years has some degree of noise-induced hearing loss, which is twice the rate as seen in 1971. But noise isn’t a new phenomenon for kids. Historically, children have worked on farms, cut down trees, or fired guns without hearing protection. However, personal listening devices, like the iPod, are one of the most significant changes in our culture in the past 15-20 years, and they are here to stay.
Walk around the local park, ballfield, or school, and you will see numerous children and adults connected to earbuds. The extremely popular iPod has the capacity to produce an output of as much as 115 decibels at maximum volume, which is about as loud as a jet airplane taking off. At that level, it takes less than a few minutes to cause permanent damage. Of course, not everybody listens to his or her personal device at that volume. But in many instances the volume is turned up to combat background noise, and those earbuds placed directly into the ear can boost the volume as much as 6 to 9 decibels.
The damage that noise exposure causes is cumulative, permanent, and totally preventable. So what can we do?