The History of Headphones
Given the current ubiquity of personal media players—the iPod appeared almost a decade ago—many researchers attribute this widespread hearing loss to exposure to sound played loudly and regularly through headphones. (Earbuds users typically listen at higher volume to drown out interference.) Indeed, the August report reinforces the findings of a 2008 European study of people who habitually blast MP3 players, including iPods and smartphones. According to that report, headphone users who listen to music at high volumes for more than an hour a day risk permanent hearing loss after five years.