Health news of the day: Beware! MP3 players cause early hearing loss

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One in four teenagers are in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of listening to music on their personal listening devices (PLDs) like MP3 players and iPods.

Personal listening devices permit users to listen to crystal-clear tunes at high volume for hours on end, a radical improvement over Walkman.

But according to Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers, these advances have also turned these devices PLDs into a serious health hazard, with teenagers facing the greatest risk.

One in four teens is in danger of early hearing loss as a direct result of these listening habits, says Chava Muchnik professor of audiology at TAU`s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Centre, the International Journal of Audiology reports.

With colleagues Ricky Kaplan-Neeman, Noam Amir and Ester Shabtai, Muchnik studied teens` music listening habits and took acoustic measurements of preferred listening levels, according to a TAU statement.

The results demonstrate clearly that teens have harmful music-listening habits when it comes to iPods and other MP3 devices.

`In 10 or 20 years, it will be too late to realize that an entire generation of young people is suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural ageing,` says Muchnik.

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