A team of researchers published a scientific study for the European Union on the risks of hearing loss from music players. The study says people who listen to high-volume music, specified as noise levels over 89dBA, on their MP3 player for five hours a week expose themselves to more noise than permitted in the noisiest factory or work place.
The report warns the "MP3 generation" may be heading for hearing impairment in later life, listening to high volume music for just one hour a day each week can result in hearing loss after five years:
“Regularly listening to personal music players at high-volume settings when young,” the report said, “often has no immediate effect on hearing but is likely to result in hearing loss later in life.”
The report is the latest of several to warn that the “MP3” generation of youths may be heading for hearing impairment in later life.
But older people may also be vulnerable. In the 27 countries in the European Union, an estimated 50 million to 100 million people out of about 500 million may be listening to portable music players daily, the report said.
Users listening at high volumes for more than an hour a day each week risk permanent hearing loss after five years. This is equivalent to 5 percent to 10 percent of the listeners, which may be 2.5 million to 10 million people in the European Union, the study concluded.