B.C. Medical Journal Calls for Cap on iPod Volumes
Wednesday Aug. 3, 2011 9:31 AM PT
A B.C.-based medical journal is calling for a volume cap on iPods and other music devices, claiming some are capable of reaching the decibel levels of a thunderclap, jackhammer or a jet taking off 30 metres away.
In an editorial in Open Medicine, Dr. Kapil Khatter argues the Canadian government should follow European countries that have set a maximum volume of 85 decibels, or 80 decibels for products marketed at children.
"Research suggests that the ear bud generation may one day be the hearing loss generation," Khatter wrote. "The European Union has taken action to reduce the risk; Health Canada should follow suit."
Research from the European Union suggests five to 10 per cent of those who listen to music devices for more than an hour a day are in danger of permanent hearing loss.
But the study found that listening to music at 80 decibels or less is safe, no matter how long or how often it occurs.
Loudness is determined both by the player and the headphones, Khatter says, and some combinations are currently capable of producing up to 130 decibels.
He argues that if Canada follows the European lead, it could also help protect consumers in other parts of the world.
"Harmonizing with the new European Union standards would create consistent expectations of manufacturers and allow them to create one set of products globally," Khatter wrote.
Health Canada can also set maximum volume limits in headphones, he added, which would ensure the listener is never exposed to more than 85 decibels.
"Although it may take years for much of the damage to occur, it is important that we monitor for [personal music player]-related hearing changes," Khatter wrote.
"The significant impact that hearing damage has on people's lives is worth preventing."