Dean Garstecki, a U.S. audiologist from Northwestern University, claims an increasing number of young people are now experiencing the kind of hearing loss found in aging adults. He blames MP3 players for this, saying listeners often listen to music at 110 to 120 decibels which can cause hearing loss after about an hour of listening.
With iPod-style earbuds the headphones are placed directly into the ear, this causes even more damage as it boosts the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels.
Garstecki says low cost earbuds are more likely to increase the risk of loss in hearing than muff-type earphones and he advises to lower volume levels when listening to music.
. "If music listeners are willing to turn the volume down further still and use different headphones, they can increase the amount of time that they can safely listen," he said.
Noise-cancelling headphones are better because they reduce or eliminate background noise. But such headphones are often less popular because they are more costly and more visible than the tiny earbuds.