Q6. Can listening to an MP3 player affect your hearing?

A6. MP3 players and iPods are very popular especially amongst young people. They are easy to use, convenient and an enjoyable way of listening to music in any environment.

But many people listen to music at high volume on either of these without stopping to think about the damage this can cause.

Listening to music on a maximum volume could lead to permanent hearing loss. Another factor is the tiny, ‘earbud’ type earphones which sit inside your ear, rather than on top of it. These ‘push’ sounds towards the ear drum which eventually results in damage.

The reason for this is that this damages hair cells within the cochlea which are responsible for passing sound waves through the ear to the brain. The hair cells move each time they detect sounds which causes these to be converted into electrical impulses. These are sent to the brain through the auditory nerve.

But if these are exposed to loud and prolonged music over a period of time then these become damaged or die. These hair cells are not re-grown or replaced and this affects the type and volume of sounds that you hear.

This gradually gets worse over time.

If you listen to music through an iPod or an MP3 player then make sure that the volume control isn’t set on ‘maximum’: and have periods of time in the day when you don’t wear either of these and give your ears a break. This is covered in greater detail in our causes of hearing loss section.

FAQS Index : A guide to Hearing Loss

FAQs Intro

  1. What causes deafness?
  2. Why has my hearing gone worse as I have got older?
  3. Is there more than one type of hearing loss?
  4. Why does my child get lots of ear infections?
  5. What is ‘glue ear?’
  1. Can listening to an MP3 player affect your hearing?
  2. I need a hearing test, what can I expect?
  3. What is a cochlear implant?
  4. What type of hearing aid will suit me?
  5. Will deafness ever be cured?

Hearing Loss

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