If you’ve joined the ranks of I-Pod listeners, one expert says your hearing is at risk if you tend to crank up the volume. You’ve seen ’em bopping down the sidewalks and hallways with headphones blaring. University of Iowa otology professor Marlan Hansen says loud headphones can put you on the fast track to going deaf. “Keep it under the volume setting of five and if someone else can hear the headphones other than you at just an arm’s distance, then they’re certainly too loud and they’re causing damage to the inner ears.” Doctor Hansen says it’s worse for people who wear headphones while driving cars or motorcycles, or just in a crowded mall. Hansen says if you wear headphones when “there’s a lot of external environmental noise and you turn them up louder to overcome that, your ear is even more susceptible to further damage.” He says I-Pods are particularly popular with young people who have good hearing — at least until they start pumping up the volume. Any time you’re in a noisy environment like a shopping mall, if you have to turn the sound up to drown out other sounds, there’s danger. He says even playing the I-Pod too loud for 15-minutes a day is too much and you’re doing damage to your ear.
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