Agency recommends cutting music on headphones to hour a day

Listening to music for more than one hour a day may lead to hearing damage and loss, according to new research from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said that the percentage of teenagers in the U.S. with hearing loss increased from 3.5 percent in 1994 to 5.3 percent in 2006 and that the prevalence of hearing loss in both teenagers and adults is increasing. Risk of hearing damage and loss is increased by unsafe sound levels from personal audio devices, clubs and bars, concerts and car radios.

The report included recommendations for safe sound levels and listening times for various audio sources, including the following: mp3 players at 105 decibels (dB) for four minutes, loud rock concert at 115 dB for 28 seconds, noise inside a car at 85 dB for eight hours. Because measuring exact decibels can be challenging, the WHO says keeping volume at 60 percent volume or less is a good rule of thumb.

Other tips for reducing risk of hearing damage include wearing noise-cancelling headphones--which allow music to be heard more clearly at a lower volume, wearing ear plugs at loud concerts and standing far away from speakers. The WHO added that use of personal audio devices should be limited to a one hour a day at a safe sound level to reduce risk of hearing damage.

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Sourced from: BBC, Cut music to 'an hour a day' - WHO