Audiologist Nick Parkyn talks about the dangers of listening to earphone devices such as iPods at a loud volume.
Audiologist Nick Parkyn talks about the dangers of listening to earphone devices such as iPods at a loud volume. Rob Williams

Your iPod is a health risk

THE MP3 player may be one of the greatest technological advances of our generation, but its legacy could have a profound long-term effect on generations Y and Z.

Research has shown tinnitus, a precursor to hearing loss, is on the rise amongst people aged between 11 and 35.

The I Hear Report, compiled by the National Acoustic Laboratory over the past two years, indicates 64% of 1400 participants suffered from a constant ringing sound in their ears.

Attune audiologist Nick Parkyn said the number of young people coming to his Riverlink clinic with tinnitus as a result of listening to loud music was on the rise.

Mr Parkyn said hearing damage would occur if a person listened to their iPod at 105 decibels for more than seven minutes.

He said people needed to remember before they plugged in their headphones that hearing loss was permanent but preventable.

"It's more about education and hearing awareness to get them to hopefully turn their iPod down before they do damage to their hearing.

"Tinnitus is ringing in the ears and I do see a lot of that in teenagers," he said.

Tinnitus can be exacerbated by anxiety and stress, chocolate and stimulants in energy drinks such as caffeine.

The study found those affected by tinnitus still had a good range of hearing.

Mr Parkyn said parents could put a volume limiter on a device or buy super aural headphones which seal in the music and block out surrounding noise, in an effort to reduce the impact.

The issue has been taken seriously by Ipswich resident Daniel Lalor, who started a hearing loss awareness campaign at musictomyearscampaign.org.

Mr Lalor started the campaign in 2010 after experiencing tinnitus after over-exposure to loud music.

HEAR THIS

  • Research has found 64% of 11 to 35-year-olds experience tinnitus.
  • The effects of tinnitus can be increased by stress, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate.
  • It can lead to depression, poor concentration and sleeping difficulties.

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