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MacBytes
May 9, 2005, 01:57 PM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Experts warn of iPod hearing loss (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050509145717)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 02:07 PM
The "experts" are being fools. There's a legitimate use for the high ends of the volume spectrum: using a pair of headphones as small speakers (I'm dead serious, I do this regularly).

~J

iSaint
May 9, 2005, 02:07 PM
42 years of headphones, car stereos, concerts...I don't think I can hurt my ears any more!

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 02:10 PM
I unlocked my UK iPods!
The real problem is the headphones -
The Apple ones do not isolate you AT ALL, and hence, if you are in a noisy environment, you have to pump up the volume to suit. Sometimes on the Tube (London Underground Rail) you can't hear anything from those crappy cans!
I recently bought a pair of Shure E3cs that go inside your ear Canal, and isolate you from the surrounding noise, henceforth, I haven't pushed the volume of my iPod beyond 75% - and anything above that can be painful (which makes me think I may re-cap the volume - which you can also do in the US if you are concerned with this (http://gopod.free-go.net/index_en.htm)).
These kind of headphones will actually protect your ears by stopping you pushing up the volume to overcome outside noises. (Larger noise-cancelling cans do it too, but to a lesser degree)

There are lots of manufacturers out there making these kinds of 'phones, - many of them deriving from the music industry - Shure make many of the in-ear "monitors" that artists use on stage (for precisely the reason that they cancel out the speaker noise, and feedback the artist's vocals at a lower volume).

Look for Etymotics, Shure etc. Hell even Apple offer these (http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=M9394G/A), which I have used for a few years and are an improvement to the supplied buds!

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 02:13 PM
P.S. - UK consumer "experts" groups give this kind of warning ALL THE TIME! - Why do you think us Brits have volume restricted iPods in the first place!

PlaceofDis
May 9, 2005, 02:14 PM
again, its more than just iPods that people should be wary of, what about all those other MP3 players? wasnt this always a concern with the discman too?

i guess iPod = MP3 player now, good job Apple!

eh, ill listen to my music as i always have, but seriously, they only recommend one hour a day? get with it, no one does that, even before the iPod was out

mkrishnan
May 9, 2005, 02:14 PM
These kind of headphones will actually protect your ears by stopping you pushing up the volume to overcome outside noises. (Larger noise-cancelling cans do it too, but to a lesser degree)

True that...even with a cheap pair of Philips ones from Target, I can listen to my iPod at substantially reduced volumes. With these, in a relatively quiet room, my iPod is actually usable at the very lowest possible volume setting! And 50% is easily enough to be heard in noisy situations, whereas I needed 80% on earbuds to get that. They might have smaller drivers that take less power to begin with, but its also definitely in part the noise isolation.

munkle
May 9, 2005, 02:15 PM
The experts also warn people that they should only listen to their music player for a maximum one hour per day.

Riiiiiggghhtt :rolleyes:


(Oh I know they mean at high volumes but I'm bored of hearing from these "experts" who are just trying to gain a bit of notoriety by jumping on the coat tails of the iPod).

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 02:17 PM
Is hearing all that important anyway?
I don't need it to post on Macrumors! :D

Applespider
May 9, 2005, 02:29 PM
While I agree that these 'experts' are a little OTT, there are lot of people who listen to their music at ridiculous level and it's highly irritating to those around. There are days on the train when I could sing along to the music on someone's iPod (or whatever) because it's so loud.

I wish those 'in-ear' ones came as standard since it does shut off a lot of the noise... for both those listening intentionally and unintentionally.

iGary
May 9, 2005, 02:32 PM
I play my music way too loud. Guess I'll find out when I'm 40.

Wait, I'm almost 40.

Huh?

calyxman
May 9, 2005, 02:35 PM
Come on guys, there's a point in all this. Hearing loss is a serious thing so play it safe when listening to your music. :)

SiliconAddict
May 9, 2005, 03:27 PM
Come on guys, there's a point in all this. Hearing loss is a serious thing so play it safe when listening to your music. :)


Yah but what is safe? The article said that devices shouldn't go above 2/3rds of the max level. But never said what is "safe" I personally never go above 50%.

I really wish Apple would put a digital meter on the volume screen so you can see where you are at. This guessing crap is erking me off. Take the iTrip. Says you should set the level to no higher then 75%. Well that's great. Let me see. That "LOOKS" like 75%. Maybe a bit more. :rolleyes:

redAPPLE
May 9, 2005, 05:11 PM
Come on guys, there's a point in all this. Hearing loss is a serious thing so play it safe when listening to your music. :)

what did you say? :D

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 05:20 PM
what did you say? :D
It seems iPod use also:
1. Makes people associate the written word with spoken language
2. Mentally represses the inner representation of the language so far as to not be able to "hear" it.
3. - Hence, you can't even hear what you read! - Dope!
Ergo Facto:
iPods make you illiterate!

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 05:29 PM
I unlocked my UK iPods!
The real problem is the headphones -
The Apple ones do not isolate you AT ALL
I know you're talking about in-ear headphones where it isn't so bad, but keep in mind that if you're talking circumaural headphones isolation is bad. You want open headphones for the best sound.

Also, that's another problem with these "experts": the volume indicators really don't indicate volume. You take those iPod earbuds and crank the volume up to max and you'll be hurting pretty quick. On the other hand, plug in some AKG K 1000s (http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020121000) and see if you can even hear it anymore.

~J

Lau
May 9, 2005, 05:33 PM
I have recently uncapped my iPod. I was perfectly happy with the volume for almost a year. Then I bought an iTalk, and playing back speech through the mini speaker was completely inaudible, even with my ear pressed to it (like a headphone :rolleyes: ). So I uncapped it with GoPod, and it has been great since.

So, not everyone is uncapping it to deafen themselves. I usually had the volume below 50% even uncapped, with the standard earbuds. I'm such a rebel. :D

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 05:49 PM
I know you're talking about in-ear headphones where it isn't so bad, but keep in mind that if you're talking circumaural headphones isolation is bad. You want open headphones for the best sound.

Also, that's another problem with these "experts": the volume indicators really don't indicate volume. You take those iPod earbuds and crank the volume up to max and you'll be hurting pretty quick. On the other hand, plug in some AKG K 1000s (http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020121000) and see if you can even hear it anymore.

~J
I take it by "circumaural" you mean headphones that "actively" cancel the noise? - I would never use these.
I was talking about in-ear phones that work as part ear-plug part headphone.
At home I use Grado SR80s - I'd like anyone to find fault with the quality of those cans - but
1. They're huge and I get the impression a yank on the cable would destroy them
2. If the background was a noisy place (london underground) the sound quality would be completely lost!

No-one is going to get me to go back to a normal ear-"bud" or sell me with active-cancelling (or "circumaural" or whatever) after using my Shure E3cs.
The E4c is out soon - I won't buy but everyone else should have a look!

mrsebastian
May 9, 2005, 05:59 PM
what did you say? :D

ditto! darn it you beat me to it ;)

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 06:03 PM
No, by circumaural I mean ones that surround your ear—active noise cancelling just means you get an even lower-quality headphone for your money. Compare supraaural, your standard age-old walkman headphone that sits on top of your ear. Circumaurals are generally the ones with meaningful isolation, though, as they can create a semi-sealed chamber around your ears (which is why the sound quality degrades as well—double-edged swords, all).

Your Grados are supraaural, for reference. I haven't had a chance to listen to them, but Headroom says they're a decent upper-low-range headphone, all things considered—which, as far as us non-audiophiles go, means a decent mid-range headphone (I'm not going to fault anyone's headphones for not competing with $600-and-up 'phones). Word is they've also got problems properly driving the low-range on portables without an amp, but such is life—my Sennheiser HD580s probably suffer the same problem (I've never tried). Incidentally, the E4Cs are out, as are the E5Cs (though I'd stay away from the E5Cs, I hear they're not good value for the money). Etymotic also makes some pretty good earbuds, by all reports.

~J

calyxman
May 9, 2005, 06:06 PM
Well, FYI Apple even posts a warning on their site (http://www.apple.com/support/ibook/care/) (it pertains to the iBook). Scroll near the bottom and you'll see the following:


Avoid Hearing Damage
Warning: Permanent hearing loss may occur if earbuds or headphones are used at high volume. You can adapt over time to a higher volume of sound, which may sound normal but can be damaging to your hearing. Set your iBook volume to a safe level before that happens. If you experience ringing in your ears, reduce the volume or discontinue use of earbuds or headphones with your iBook.

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 06:10 PM
Certainly, but that's just common sense. If you'll note it avoids two problems:

1) Implementing by technical or legally enforced technical means a limitation that should be implemented in wetware (the end-user)

2) Assuming that all devices playing through the iPod will have the same impedance (that is to say, that 50% of displayed volume slider will generate the same sound pressure with my setup as with that of someone else's).

~J

mkrishnan
May 9, 2005, 06:15 PM
1) Implementing by technical or legally enforced technical means a limitation that should be implemented in wetware (the end-user)

Hey! There's still a ghost in this shell! :eek:

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 06:22 PM
Hey! There's still a ghost in this shell! :eek:
How we're treated is what really makes us human, and I'm just doing my bit to dehumanize everyone :D

~J

Lacero
May 9, 2005, 06:22 PM
In other news, it's been reported cars can cause loss of limbs and other body parts.

shamino
May 9, 2005, 06:42 PM
*sigh*

Pundits have been saying this ever since the first Walkman was invented.

If you subject yourself to loud sounds, you'll suffer hearing damage. This is the same for everything, not just iPods.

As for the iPod's volume level, that's a red herring. A given power level from an amplifier can result in radically different sound-pressure levels, depending on what kind of headphones are attached (in-ear, on-ear, over-ear, different impedance levels, etc.)

If you use that headphone jack to feed the audio into another device (say, a car stereo), then the level coming off of the iPod is meaningless, since it will be boost/cut by the car's amplifier. In order to get the cleanest signal, you'll want the iPod to send the highest level it can produce without clipping (not necessarily the maximum level, but probably close to it). Then you'll adjust the volume to a comfortable level using the car stereo's control. Artificially cutting the iPod's output level simply means you'll have a noisier signal going into the car stereo.

JonMaker
May 9, 2005, 07:16 PM
Is hearing all that important anyway?
I don't need it to post on Macrumors! :D

You, sir, are my hero.

My one huge piece of advice for all iPod owners is to get a pair of in-ear headphones (I prefer Etymotic), especially for those that use the iPod to block noise. Even with the iPod off, the in-ear headphones will block noise.

SPUY767
May 9, 2005, 07:27 PM
Napster paid for this scientific investigation. I'm sure of it.

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 07:42 PM
You, sir, are my hero.

My one huge piece of advice for all iPod owners is to get a pair of in-ear headphones (I prefer Etymotic), especially for those that use the iPod to block noise. Even with the iPod off, the in-ear headphones will block noise.
Well thanks!
I chose the E3cs cos I wanted to use them in bed, and the Er4s stuck out too much. Also, the Er4ps seemed a little more flimsy, and what with biking and carrying bags, and snagging risk, I was worries the Etymotics would last about 5 minutes. The Shures however, are built very solid.

Seriously though guys, these in-ear "monitor" style 'phones will really help reduce the levels at which you will listen to your music. At 50% or less, all outside noise is cancelled. On the train today, the Ticket guy had to knock on the table I was reading on to get my attention to show him the ticket!

With the Apple buds I say out and about i was at AT LEAST 80% (UK Capped)
Apple In-Ear - 65-80% UK Capped
Shure E3cs - 40-75% Uncapped (and over 75% is actually painful at times)
E3cs at 50% or more - can't hear the outside world (if the music you're listening to is "full" anyway)

puckhead193
May 9, 2005, 08:47 PM
i think (at least my ipod) the volume doesn't go very loud at all..... :o

Kagetenshi
May 9, 2005, 08:52 PM
Proof of hearing damage.

~J

James Philp
May 9, 2005, 10:46 PM
i think (at least my ipod) the volume doesn't go very loud at all..... :o
Is it capped?
If it is look on the previous page where i posted a link to the software, if it isn't that's slightly worrying, but getting some in-ear phones will certainly have you re-assessing volumes - once sound is pumped DIRECTLY onto your ear drum, and everything else is plugged out, the world changes!

Sun Baked
May 9, 2005, 10:53 PM
P.S. - UK consumer "experts" groups give this kind of warning ALL THE TIME! - Why do you think us Brits have volume restricted iPods in the first place!The warning is soo old, it was around when the Sony Walkman first came out.

High dB pumped right in your ears will damage them.

Of course it isn't always the noise pumped directly into your ears, it's the isolation from your surroundings that can hurt you just as much, or more -- get you mugged, run over, can't hear the warning shouts to run, etc.

wdlove
May 10, 2005, 03:18 PM
It seems to be a way for critics to make another attack on Apple. Going to concerts of Rock n' Roll in the 50's and 60's was also damaging to the ears.