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Is Your Music Too Loud? Experts Say It May Be If It Is Louder Than a Microwave’s Beep

To lessen hearing-loss risk, some experts say listen to loud music with earbuds for less than an hour a day

Think twice the next time you pump up the volume on your iPhone to drown out the chatter of those neighboring commuters.

Experts say listening to music at high volumes using earbuds or headphones for more than an hour—and in some cases, as little as a few minutes—could put you at risk for noise-related hearing loss.

The World Health Organization in a new campaign advises limiting the use of personal audio devices to less than an hour a day, or for longer periods if kept at a volume of less than 85 decibels, roughly equivalent to the beep of a microwave.

At 100 decibels, listening should be limited to 15 minutes. But by reducing the volume to 80 decibels or less, a person can safely listen to headphones for long as desired, said Dr. Chadha.

Apple and most other makers of personal audio devices don’t provide decibel equivalents for the volume controls on their devices. Maximum volume varies depending on products and headphones. Some experts say the most effective way to reduce the risk of hearing damage is to wear noise-canceling headphones, which block out background noise so that users can listen at lower volumes when in a noisy environment such as an airplane.

➤ To read the complete report, click Downloads and select, Hearing-Risk-How-Loud-Long.pdf.

➤ Also see Hear, Don't Hurt

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2015

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