Loud MP3s causing teens to lose hearing


Slappin’ your iPod could lead to deafness, according to a study released in August by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in conjunction with Harvard University.

Researchers found that 19.5 percent of the people they studied who were ages 12-19 had lost hearing in 2005-06 compared to a similar study in 1988-94 in which only 14.9 percent had lost hearing.

But students at Fremont Federation of High Schools, including Marcus Hardaway don’t seem to be listening to the warnings.

Sitting on a bench in front of the school garden, Hardaway, a sophomore at Media Academy, blasted his iPod to the max. It could be heard from inside a portable classroom 20 yards away.

Hardaway stopped his music for an interview and said he listens to his iPod for 12 hours a day and that it is almost always on the maximum level.He listens to music before he goes to sleep and when he gets up in the morning.

If this is true, Hardaway is at risk of losing his hearing, according to the study.

In fact, probably 195 of the 1,000 students at Fremont have probably lost some of their hearing or will lose it as a teenager. Oakland Unified School District does not have updated statistics on teen hearing in part because school nurses have been cut from every campus, explained Katie Riemer, the health educator at Fremont’s Tiger Clinic.

How loud can MP3 players get at its maximum volume?

Childhearing.org states that “a normal conversation is about 60 decibels, lawnmowers and shop tools run at 90 decibels or so, a chainsaw at 100, a rock concert at 115, and a jet engine at 120 or higher.” 

An iPod at maximum level is 115 decibels.

Media Academy senior Jennifer Truong is like many teens. She says she cares a lot about her hearing, but …

“I’m aware that I am doing damage to my ears, but I can’t help it because I don’t feel the music when it’s low,” she said.

Nevertheless, she said, “I am afraid so I’m slowly trying to change.”