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Cool dudes, here's why NOT to blast your headphones!

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May 12, 2008

Okay, so the mp3 player has been hailed as the best thing since sliced bread.

And youngsters everywhere these days -- on trains, in college canteens and even at work -- are seen sporting a set of headphones to have music lighten up their day.

But is it safe to be tuned into a set of headphones all the time?

According to a report on website, the maximum volume of an Apple iPod is in the range of 120 decibels -- equivalent to the sound of a jet plane taking off!

Now that can't exactly be easy on your ears, especially if you're blasting music into them through headphones all day! If you're an mp3 addict who's listening to music 24/7, here's a few things you should watch out for!

~ Tinnitus

If you've ever been boogeying all night to loud music, it often happens that your ears continue to ring with sound -- a high-pitched whistling, buzzing or humming -- even after silence has been restored. This is also a side-effect of frequent headphone use, especially if you're one of those who likes to pump up the volume! When your ears buzz, it's known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus is sometimes temporary in nature, but each time it occurs it signifies that damage has been done to your inner ear, according to the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia. Moreover, it can become a chronic problem over time and if it does, can interfere with sleeping habits.

~ Hyperacusis

This is a hearing condition that causes an individual to become overly-sensitive to sounds within a certain frequency range, according to Wikipedia. If you're suffering from hyperacusis, you may find everyday sounds like the the clatter of dishes unbearable, while those with normal hearing are not so affected.

~ High blood pressure

According to a feature published by, University of Michigan researchers found that loud levels of noise can up a person's blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of a heart attack!

~ Other effects

A study published by the Journal of Epidemiology has linked repeated exposure to loud volume to tumours along the cranial nerve. Such tumours put pressure on the nerve and result in hearing impairment and loss.

So just what do you need to keep in mind when listening to your mp3 player? Website outlines how you can prevent damage to your ears and overall health!

~ Be sure to take a break from your headphones every so often.

~ Don't crank the volume up too high; even a slight adjustment can make a vast difference and preserve your hearing abilities.

~ Don't use your headphones to drown out external noises like traffic -- invest in a pair of noise-reducing headphones instead. The extra cash is worth it when it comes to the preservation of your hearing abilities!

~ If the mp3 player you're using has a volume control option, use it!

~ Over-the-ear, full-size headphones are generally believed to be safer than earbud headphones offered with most mp3 players. While the latter are smaller and pocket-portable, they are put down your ear canal and are blaring closer to your delicate inner ear. On the other hand, over-the-ear headphones prevent outside sounds from getting in the way of your listening pleasure and are not so intrusive to the inner ear.

~ And here's a tip from all the experts -- don't exceed 60 percent of the volume capability on your player under any circumstances! If someone a couple of feet away can hear any sound coming from your headphones, it's too loud!

Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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