Jogging, on the school bus or on holiday at the beach – lots of young people as well as adults don’t go anywhere without their smartphones and MP3 players. No wonder, as music puts people in a good mood as well as adding a bit of color to the dreariness of everyday life. However, the problem is that the combination of high noise levels and consistent noise exposure can cause irreparable hearing damage sooner or later.
The EU standard stipulates a limit value of 100 dB(A) for MP3 players, however many devices are louder. The reason for this is that the measurements for the standard are based on a standard test noise, whereas contemporary music is digitally processed in such a way that continuous sound levels of up to 105 dB(A) can be achieved. Special headphones which are louder than the supplied standard earphones raise decibel levels even higher and thus further increase the danger of hearing damage.
The Swiss Accident and Insurance Fund (SUVA) has released the following guidelines recommending how to use MP3 players responsibly (according to the EU standard and with original headphones):
The most important thing is to listen to what your ears are telling you! If you start hearing or experiencing rushing or whistling sounds in your ears/head it is a sign that you should give your ears a rest, allow yourself a day of peace and quiet and turn the volume well down in future.
Another important point: music may make a lot of things easier, but being on the road is not one of them. That’s why it is essential to refrain from listening to music via headphones in a car or on a bicycle as, even if the volume is not a problem for your hearing, you don’t appreciate critical situations until it’s far too late.