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Young risk hearing with MP3 players

Young people are being warned they risk ruining their hearing by listening to loud music on their MP3 players.

Deaf charity RNID used decibel meters to test the volume of 110 music players in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham, and found that 72 of those were pumping out more than 85 decibels.

The organisation also found that 58% of young people were unaware of any risk to their hearing from using MP3 players, and 79% had never seen warnings about noise levels on the packaging.

Studies by the World Health Organisation have previously found that listening to earphones at 85 decibels or more for over an hour at a time can damage hearing.

Brian Lamb, acting chief executive of RNID, said: "MP3 player manufacturers have a responsibility to make their customers aware of the dangers by printing clear warnings on packaging and linking volume controls to decibel levels.

"It's easy to crank up the sound levels on your MP3 player to damagingly loud levels, especially on busy streets or public transport. But if people can hear the music from your headphones from just a metre away, you're putting your hearing at risk.

"Young people need to be educated so they can make choices about the risk of exposure to loud noise - the same as with safe sex, sun exposure and drink and drugs."

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"This another aspect of life that our teens need support to overcome. I work in an acute surgical admission unit and my experience as a nurse admitting teens from the age of 17 years and above with regards to loud noise is numerous and disgusting. They love playing their radios and the television volume is turned up so loud that the elder patients are deprived from having a restful night, but this causes damage to their ears as well as that of those around them. Loud noise is a very serious nunisance. Teens need support to overcome this self-imposed mess" - Mrs Ouwakwe

"I don't think enough public health promotion is being done in this subject and teenagers do not understand the harm they are causing to themselves with regards to loud music and hearing loss" - Name and address supplied