Short-term auditory effects of listening to an MP3 player

January 01, 0001

Short-term auditory effects of listening to an MP3 player

These Belgian investigators determined the output levels of a commercially available MPEG layer-3 (MP3) player and to evaluate changes in hearing after 1 hour of listening to the MP3 player in 21 participants. First, A-weighted sound pressure levels measured in decibels (dBA) for 1 hour of pop- rock music on an MP3 player were measured on a head and torso simulator. Second, after participants listened to 1 hour of pop-rock music using an MP3 player, changes in hearing were evaluated with pure-tone audiometry, transient- evoked otoacoustic emissions, and distortion product otoacoustic emissions.

They found: "The output levels at the full gain setting were 97.36 dBA and 102.56 dBA for the supra-aural headphones and stock earbuds, respectively. In the noise exposure group, significant changes in hearing thresholds and transient-evoked otoacoustic emission amplitudes were found between preexposure and postexposure measurements. However, this pattern was not seen for distortion product otoacoustic emission amplitudes. Significant differences in the incidence of significant threshold or emission shifts were observed between almost every session of the noise exposure group compared with the control group."

The authors concluded: "Temporary changes in hearing sensitivity measured by audiometry and otoacoustic emissions indicate the potential harmful effects of listening to an MP3 player. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term risk of cumulative noise exposure on the auditory system of adolescents and adults."

A cautionary tale even though long-term outcomes were not assessed.

For the full abstract, click here.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 136(6):538-548, June 2010
© 2010 to the American Medical Association
Short-term Auditory Effects of Listening to an MP3 Player. Hannah Keppler, Ingeborg Dhooge, Leen Maes, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Keppler: [email protected]

Category: H. Ear. Keywords: hearing, audition, MP3 player, headphones, earbuds, experimental study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 6 July 2010

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