We have all been there. You are sitting in a public place, plane/lobby/school and someone sits next to you with their ipod blasting their music. If you can pick out the artist and tune playing, the volume level has to be plenty loud for the user. Prolonged exposure to music at high volume can lead to long-term hearing loss, and with the prominence of iPods and earbuds, not only is the noise an annoyance to others, it can hurt the listener.
- Teens play their music louder than adults, and may have an inaccurate perception of how loud they are playing their music (no surprise there!)
- A typical person can listen to an iPod for 4.6 hours per day at 70 percent volume, or 90 minutes at 80 percent volume without increasing their risk of hearing loss
- Listening to music at full volume for more than 5 minutes a day can increase your risk for long term hearing loss
Hearing loss is permanent. Once the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that convert mechanical vibrations into electrical signals are damaged, they cannot be repaired. That being said, everyone’s sensitivity is different, and what causes hearing loss in some, may not in others.
Apple lists a couple suggestions on their website about listening responsibly, thinking about levels, etc.
Apple also has a way to restrict the iPod's maximum volume on their iPods, which can prevent you or your kids from turning up the iPod too loud. I guarantee that if you check your kid’s iPod, this setting is in its default “off” position. This is a good idea, but it requires the user to take proactive action.
What if Apple took things a step further by providing a visual “reminder” that the levels of which we are listening to are getting too loud. Nothing drastic, just a slight adjustment to the visual design with universal warning colors. Maybe this would cause us to think twice when we crank up the volume. I, for one, would appreciate the extra concern.