Youngsters risk deafness with too-loud personal stereos

March 4th, 2009 - 10:12 am ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, March 4 (DPA) Youngsters in Hong Kong are risking deafness by turning personal stereos up too loud to drown out the sounds of the city, according to a survey.
Nearly one in four young people listen to iPods and other personal stereos at such a high volume that they risk damaging their hearing because the high-rise city is so noisy, the study concluded.

Around 14 percent of secondary schoolchildren already have mild hearing loss and can no longer hear sounds below 25 decibels, such as wind blowing through trees, experts found.

More than 4,000 students from high schools across the densely-populated city of seven million were interviewed for the survey by the Hear Talk Welfare group.

Researchers found that almost one in five students used personal stereos or games with earphones for between 20 and 50 hours a week while six percent used them for more than 50 hours a week.

With roadside traffic at an average 70 decibels and construction noise at 90 decibels, Hong Kong youngsters often pump their music up to 100 decibels to drown out the noise, researchers found.

Last year, some 1.67 million MP3 players were sold in Hong Kong, more than twice as many as in 2003.

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