iPod study rings true for students
Posted Dec. 8, 2006

Maria Villalpando

Listening to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” on her iPod, Siddeeqah Shabazz, alumna of the University of La Verne, graduated with a degree in theater arts in January 2006. Shabazz starred in the theatrical production of “Miss Nelson is Missing” in Rancho Cucamonga.

It is a common sight to see students walking toward class with tiny white cords hanging from their ears, a concentrated look on their faces.

Over the past five years, MP3 players have caused a lot of positive and negative chaos.

The frenzy started when Apple came out with the unique iPod.

Available in three different sizes and oodles of colors, the iPod became the hot item for Christmas presents.

What makes the iPod so unique compared to a Walkman is that it can hold thousands of songs.

Due to the availability of listening time, users tend to use this device on a continuous basis.

“I think the way we see students wear them for a prolonged period of time could definitely do damage,” said Lauren Gasaway, a sociology major.

In fact studies show that since the 2001 release of the iPod many people have developed hearing problems.

The dime-sized, disc-shaped earphones are claimed to cause hearing loss.

Using earphones on a constant basis causes turmoil to delicate cells within the inner ear.

These cells help the brain process sound and, over years of abuse, these structures will stop working properly.

Hearing damage is also caused from use of high volume music over an extended period of time.

Sound that is more than 85 decibels exceeds the “safe range.”

If decibels are consistently set higher than that, there is a good chance of causing hearing damage.

iPods are 120 decibels at maximum volume.

If you are a teenager you will notice when you are about 30-years-old.

“I think they can [cause damage] if not used properly,” said Anna Morris, a liberal studies major.

“People have them constantly attached to their ears, which is probably a bad thing,” she added.

However, very few documented cases show hearing loss from long-term use of handheld stereos.

One way of preventing hearing loss from using any MP3 player is by purchasing a good pair of headphones.

Good pairs of headphones are designed to block out ambient noise, eliminating the need to pump up the volume so high.

Many people say that they don’t know what “too loud,” is but if the person standing next to you can hear the music, then it is most likely too loud.

When you remove the earphones and hear ringing, that could be another sign of the volume being too loud.

“I think students need to take the research seriously because so many people play their music so loud and it is so close to their eardrums,” said Dan Nunez, an avid iPod user.

The French government has set a limit of 100 decibels in all MP3 players to help prevent hearing loss.

In response, Apple has made similar adjustments to its product.

But if iPods and other MP3 players are given the limit of 100 decibels, hearing loss is still possible.

The basic conclusion to this problem would be to purchase a good pair of headphones, lower the volume and watch the amount of time you invest in listening to music via MP3 players.

Allison Farole can be reached at allison.farole@yahoo.com.

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