July 13, 2009

MTV survey: Loud music causes hearing loss

Nearly one-third of music listeners may be in danger of hearing loss, a survey conducted in conjunction with MTV.com indicated.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, says nearly half of 2,500 MTV.com respondents experienced symptoms such as tinnitus -- ringing in the ear -- or hearing loss after loud music exposure. Hearing loss was considered a problem by 32 percent of respondents.

Study leader Dr. Ron Eavey of Vanderbilt University in Nashville conducted the survey while working at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard University. It is a follow-up to his 2002 MTV survey.

Seventy-five percent of respondents owned an MP3 player, with 24 percent listening to their music player for more than 15 hours a week.

Nearly half of the respondents also said they use their player at 75 percent to 100 percent of its maximum volume capacity. These levels exceed government regulations for occupational sound levels, Eavey says.

Hearing loss is so prevalent that it has become the norm, Eavey says in a statement. We know where we are headed; it would be a miracle if we don't wind up with problems later on. We are starting off with a baseline of people from our last study who are now getting elderly, and who didn't have MP3 players, who now have hearing loss.