Charity issues MP3 top tips to prevent deafness

Published: Tue Aug 26 2008

Deafness Research UK has published its top tips for the safe use of MP3 players, following research by the charity that shows too many people are putting their hearing at risk by listening to MP3 players too loudly for too long.

For more tips on minimising damage from day to day and leisure activities, visit the Deafness Research UK website at or call the Deafness Research UK Information Service, free of charge, on 0808 808 2222.

Vivienne Michael, CEO for Deafness Research UK, said: "Our research shows that too many people are putting their hearing at risk by listening to their MP3 player too loudly and for too long. There are simple ways to minimise the likelihood of damage and reduce the risk of hearing problems in later life. Our tips apply to the whole population but we are especially worried about young people, who are generally the heaviest users of MP3s and other mobile music devices - and often the most at risk because they donÂ’t understand the dangers.

"There is a real role for parents and teachers to play here in acknowledging the risk and getting the message across to young people at every opportunity."

Deafness Research UKÂ’s top tips for safe MP3 usage include:
 Always use the noise limiter on your MP3 player
 Parents should look for a locking feature on the player and use it to set the maximum volume using a special code
 Check that your player is not one with a maximum volume that exceeds statutory and Health & Safety limits - see the Which? website for details
 Adopt the 60:60 rule - only use your MP3 player at 60% of its maximum volume for 60 minutes a day
 Never have your MP3 player so loud that you can’t hear the noise around you
 Never have it so loud that those around you can here your music!
 Ear bud headphones are less efficient at drowning out background noise so it’s tempting to turn up the volume. Use the older muff-type or noise cancelling headphones instead

Deafness Research UKÂ’s tips on how to minimise noise damage from everyday activities:
• Use earplugs. Earplugs can be unobtrusive and will not block out the sound of music or conversation. In fact, by blocking the excess noise, they can improve your ability to make out conversation and music. If worn correctly, earplugs can reduce sound levels by between 15 and 35 dBA. Special earplugs are available for musicians.
• Take regular breaks from the music or other noise source. Aim for at least ten minutes’ break every hour.
• Give your ears time to recover after exposure to excessive noise. Exposure to a 100 dBA sound for around two hours requires at least 16 hours of rest for the ears if the hearing loss is not to become permanent. A minority of people are more sensitive and a longer period of rest may be required.
• Avoid standing too close to the speakers or other noise source.
• Don’t go to noisy places too often, and try less noisy pastimes.

Deafness Research UK publishes a wide range of literature on hearing loss and related topics. Call Deafness Research UK, free, on 0808 808 2222, e-mail or visit their website

Notes to editors
About Deafness Research UK
• Deafness Research UK is the country’s only charity dedicated to finding new cures, treatments and technologies for deaf, hard of hearing and other hearing impaired people.
• The charity supports high quality medical research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of hearing impairment including tinnitus.
• The Deafness Research UK Information Service provides free information and advice based on the latest scientific evidence and informed by leading experts. The Information Service can be contacted on Freephone 0808 808 2222
• For more information on research into deafness, tinnitus and other hearing conditions, log on to the website at where you can access a wide range of information. Alternatively you can e-mail Deafness Research UK at
• One in seven people in the UK – almost nine million people - suffer hearing loss.
• Deafness Research UK was founded in 1985 by Lord (Jack) and Lady Ashley of Stoke.
• In January 2008, Action for Tinnitus Research (ATR) was linked with Deafness Research UK under a uniting direction order under section 96 (6) of the Charities Act 1993.

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