New Study Reveals Cost of iPod Usage

Dennis Faas's picture

What's so dangerous about technology? Granted, a nasty virus or spyware bug can infect a computer, but can anything of the sort really affect the personal health of a computer user? Not really. However, Australian researchers are blaming tech for a rather unpleasant trend: hearing loss.

The rather baffling study from the land-down-under reports that some 70 per cent of Australians between the ages of 18 and 34 experience a consistent ringing in their ears, a condition indicative of permanent damage to the hearing canal. The cause, according to the study (appropriately entitled "Is Australia Listening?"): MP3 players and their dastardly headphones. (Source:

So, if the problem is rampant in Australia, what's the chance it's also fairly prominent in the US of A?

Pretty good. The iPod is certainly no slouch here in the United States, and there's little reason to doubt that American teens are any less likely than Aussie kids to tune out their parents, teachers, or siblings. In addition, the headphone set has become a fairly prominent feature within the average cubicle; this writer, for one, spent a year in the publishing world with only a cheap set of Sony ear plugs between himself and fluorescent light-induced insanity.

Aside from the 70 per cent of Australians experiencing hearing loss, the study also found that about 76 per cent admit they regularly listen to music through headphones on portable MP3 players. (Source:

How loud is too loud?

Professor Harvey Dillon of Hearing Australia says that any listener who cannot hear another individual with relative ease at a relatively stable voice level is listening to their music too loud, and could be permanently damaging their hearing.

Clearly, at least one other tech industry stands to profit from the rise of digital music and the ease of acquiring it: the makers of hearing aid devices.

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