Do you often turn the volume on high when listening to music on your MP3 player? A new study shows that this may have serious repercussions on your hearing. reports that most mobile music devices lack sound-limiting controls, making them play up to 115 decibels--a far cry from the recommended 85.

The unfortunate news is that users of MP3 players are mostly children. Dr. Sancak Yuksel, an otorhinolaryngologist at the Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, and an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), estimates that there are 15 percent of young individuals under 18 years old who suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. Although everyone is susceptible to hearing problems, children are more probable to suffer from long-term ear conditions, especially if they have yet to fully develop their speech and learning abilities.

Signs of potential hearing loss in children include talking loudly, regularly turning up the volume of TVs and radios, feeling that most people mumble or talk to fast, and hearing "ringing sounds" in one's hear.

For children who sport MP3 players, Yuksel recommends adjusting the volume to regular levels and using sound controls when available. Using loose headphones or headsets can minimize sound intensity. Taking 15 to 20-minute breaks can also help the ears recover from prolonged listening.

Although often taken for granted, hearing is a very important link to speech and learning. Avoid losing this ability by being conscious about how loud your music is and how long you listen to it.

(Photo by Ben Rollman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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