Portable music players may be contributing to permanent hearing loss among many unknowing casual listeners.

Did you know an iPod’s maximum volume is more than 10 times as loud as the recommended listening setting?

Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when sensitive cells in the inner ear are exposed to loud noises. These “hair cells,” that convert sound energy into electrical impulses sent to the brain can’t grow back once they are damaged.

“Noise exposure in children especially is a growing concern,” says Heidi Limareff, Principal Audiologist, Can:Do Hearing.

“We are seeing more tinnitus in young people – an early sign of hearing loss. Generally we don’t catch these young people until they are in their 20s and 30s accelerating the hearing loss later in life..” Heidi adds.

One of the biggest concerns is that as hearing worsens over time, people may lose some ability to distinguish consonants and understand speech.

The best way to protect young ears is to apply the “60/60” rule: Keep the volume on the MP3 player under 60 percent and only listen for a maximum of 60 minutes a day.

Teenagers and young people can better protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues, and using carefully fitted, and, if possible, noise-cancelling earphones/headphones. They can also limit the time spent engaged in noisy activities and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices. In addition they should be mindful of hearing loss warning signs and get regular hearing check-ups.

The warning signs of Hearing loss, do you;

Require frequent repetition

Have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people

Think that other people sound muffled or like they’re mumbling.

Have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like conferences, restaurants, or crowded meeting rooms

Have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume

Answer or respond inappropriately in conversations

Have ringing in your ears

Read lips or more intently watch people’s faces when they speak with you.

Governments also have a role to play, workers who are required to wear hearing protection such as ear muffs, or ear plugs must be provided with a hearing test (paid for by their employer) with in the first three months of employment.

Employers that don’t comply face a maximum penalty of $6 000 for an individual and $30 000 in the case of a body corporate.

Here’s a helpful tip! Use Apple’s parental control setting to set lower sound levels on iPhones and iPods, this can be locked in place with a password!

With more than 140 years’ expertise in supporting children and young people with sensory impairments, you’re in safe hands with Can:Do Hearing and Can:Do 4Kids. Contact us today on (08) 8100 8209 or candohearing.com.au to book an appointment or to find out more.