Hearing damage due to MP3 players

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.

Only partial protection from hearing damage through EU standard

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.

How do I listen to music properly?

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):

  Source: SUVA

Listen to what your ears tell you!

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.

Watch out on the road!

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.

» How loud is too loud?


Hear the World is now supported by more than 80 celebrity ambassadors, such as Sting, Annie Lennox, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law and Take That.

» View the picture gallery

By supporting the non-profit Hear the World Foundation, Sonova advocates equal opportunities and increased quality of life for people with hearing loss around the world.
» Read more

When did you last have your hearing tested? Don’t wait any longer. The online hearing test gives you a first impression about how well you hear.

» Test your hearing