Protect your hearing

August 15, 2010 by Stéphanie Hamel

Protect your hearing

Scientists at the Northwestern University are warning the public about the intra-auricular (‘bud’ or ‘gel’) style earphones often sold with MP3 players.

According to Dean Garstecki, a professor at Northwestern University in the United States, using intra-auricular (“bud” and “gel” sound isolating style) earphones is more hazardous to hearing than the larger headsets that cover most of the ear. Because intra-auricular earphones are directly inserted into the ears, they increase the intensity of the sound by 6 to 9 decibels, which is the noise level difference between a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle.

In addition to endorsing the Boston Children’s Hospital recommended 60-60 rule (the volume should not exceed 60 % of the MP3 player’s maximum power and should not be used for more than 60 minutes each day), Dean Garstecki also recommends using headsets, rather than smaller styles such as earbuds, and ideally, the headsets should be equipped with noise suppression technology. Another advantage of headsets over earbuds is that headsets reduce the interference of external noises, making users less likely to turn up the volume of their MP3 players.

Source :