Turning the volume all the way up on your earphones or headphones may make you temporarily happy, but it will have negative effects on your hearing, and, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, it may also increases the likelihood of your engaging in risky behaviors like binge drinking, smoking pot, and having unprotected sex.

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Researchers studied 944 students from vocational schools from ages 15 to 25 and asked them how much time they spent listening to their MP3 players as well as how often they went to concerts and clubs. For the study, they defined risky music listening as something that went beyond once a day and above 89 decibels.

Based on the results, about one-third of the participants were risky MP3 player listeners. Meanwhile, almost half of the participants listened to music that was too loud at concerts and clubs. In addition, risky MP3 player listeners were twice as likely to use pot and risky club- and concertgoers were two times more likely to have unprotected sex and six times more likely to binge drink.

Despite the association, researchers still can’t say that listening to loud music is responsible for all risky behaviors. More research needs to be done. At this point, however, it is still advisable that you keep the volume of your MP3 player down to an acceptable level. At the very least, it will protect your hearing.

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(Photo by el patojo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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