What the iPod Might Be Doing to Your Hearing

The iPod is one of the most popular gadgets around these days - unless you count another Apple product like the iPhone.

But since those two gadgets belong in the same ball park, it's fair to say that the mobile, headphone-wearing technology of the world is hitting new peaks of popularity these days.

There's just one question remaining:  is all of this music listening actually hurting your hearing?


According to The Globe and Mail, president of the Hearing Foundation of Canada Heather Ferguson had this to say:  “We're listening too loud and too long. It's not just about the volume, it's also about the duration.  People simply don't understand that your hearing is precious and your hearing can be lost.”

If your hearing really is "lose-able," then it stands that you should be very concerned about protecting it.  Some would argue that hooking headphones directly into our ears is not the best way to preserve our hearing, but there are some variables to consider.

First, you have to know your own body.  If having headphones in irritates you, then keep the volume down or don't wear them at all.  You can still enjoy the music of your iPod by plugging it into a dock in your home or plugging it into the car on the way to work.  You can also try larger headphones that go around your ears, and not in them like the standard Apple headphones.  If you feel fine wearing headphones, it might not always be a problem for you.  That doesn't mean you should feel like you have free reign to blast away, but it does mean you can't obsess about every detail in the life of your ears.

Second, keeping the volume down isn't the only thing you can do to restrict your exposure to hearing damage.  You can also make sure to keep the sound come from your environment with speakers, and/or cut down on the length of time you spend with your headphones.

Conclusions?  If you're really concerned about your hearing, talk to your doctor about the impact of headphones on your ears.  But there shouldn't be much harm in having your headphones on to keep you occupied once in a while at the gym.  Ultimately, it comes down to personal responsibility and making good choices.