U.K. Group Calls For Loud Warnings On iPods, MP3s

RNID, a British organization for the deaf, has launched a campaign seeking to protect music listeners from hearing damage they say can be caused by using MP3 players at high

September 8, 2006

2 Min Read
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A British organization for the deaf is requesting that Apple and other manufacturers of MP3 players print more prominent warnings about the risks of hearing loss.

The recommendation, announced this week, is part of a "Don't Lose The Music" campaign by the RNID (formerly the Royal National Institute for Deaf People). While observing its first "Don't Lose The Music Week," the charity group has written to all leading manufacturers of MP3 players asking them to explain potential dangers of using their products at high volumes.

The RNID, which represents 9 million people who are deaf or hard of hearing, is also urging MP3 makers to direct consumers to Web sites with tips on how to protect hearing.

"We don't want to discourage young people from listening to music, but we think it's really important that music fans have the information they need to protect themselves from hearing damage," Lisa McDonald, RNID Campaign Officer, said in a prepared statement.

The U.K.-based group states that it is not opposed to MP3 players but wants to encourage people to protect themselves against the cumulative effects of loud music, "so they can enjoy the music they love for the rest of their lives."According to a recent survey, 79 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 30 have never seen warnings on the outside of MP3 players' packaging.

"We know that young people are at risk from losing their hearing prematurely by listening to loud music for too long on MP3 players. MP3 player manufacturers have a responsibility to make their customers aware of the risks and the need to listen at sensible levels and we urge them to incorporate prominent warnings into the packaging of their products," Dr John Low, chief executive of RNID, said in a prepared statement. "New technology and ever-increasing storage capacity enables people to listen non-stop for hours " and at louder volumes than ever before. If you are regularly plugged in, it is only too easy to clock up noise doses that could damage your hearing forever."

RNID reports that people purchased more than 6.3 million MP3 players in the United Kingdom in 2005. iPods are the most popular.

Angela King, senior audiologist at RNID, said that ringing and buzzing in the ears after prolonged exposure to loud sounds should serve as a warning of potential hearing loss. She said reducing volume slightly could help minimize ear damage.

RNID states that if a listener can hear sound from headphones from two or three feet away, the music is probably too loud. The group also suggests that listeners take breaks from listening to music to give their ears a rest.0

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