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Hearing : Loud Music May Lead to Hearing Loss

People who like to crank up the volume on their music face greater risk of hearing loss, a new study has found.

Nearly half of the people surveyed said they experienced symptoms such as tinnitus or hearing loss after being exposed to loud music, according to the study.

The survey was conducted by Vanderbilt University researchers in conjunction with MTV.com and was published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

About 75 percent of those surveyed said they owned an MP3 player, and 24 percent listened to it for more than 15 hours a week. Nearly half said they use a music player at 75 percent to 100 percent of its maximum volume, which exceeds government regulations for occupational sound levels.

When surrounded by external sounds, such as subway or traffic noise, 89 percent of the respondents said they increase the volume on their music player, the study showed.

According to the survey, most respondents said the media is the most informative source about hearing loss prevention, and the health care community was considered the least likely source.

The survey found that people taking the survey said they would turn down the sound level or use ear protection if they were told to do so by a health-care professional.

"Hearing loss is so prevalent that it has become the norm," said study author Dr. Roland Eavey, chairman of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt. He noted that studies "show that 90 percent of males age 60 and over now have hearing loss."

Since the researchers' last survey about loud music and hearing loss, which they conducted in 2002, "we have learned that enough people still are not yet aware, but that more are becoming aware, especially through the help of the media," Eavey said.

Copyright 2009 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

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