I have been greatly concerned that many of our young people, and even some older folks, will suffer serious hearing problems caused by the blaring music they listen to. The threat is one that has been pretty much ignored. Even some churches have gone in for the loud music in worship services. Last year, about 33 million people bought a Bluetooth wireless, a headset device that allows a person to do other things while listening to a phone call. Lawsuits filed in Tampa federal court accuse manufacturers Motorola, Plantronics and Jabra of failing to warn consumers that their headsets can cause permanent hearing loss. A test of one Motorola model produced a maximum volume of 106 decibels, enough to damage the hair cells of the inner ear even if used only five minutes a day, the suits claim. If the request for class action status is approved, anyone who bought a Bluetooth headset in Florida since October 2002 would be allowed to join the suit. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Arkansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and more suits are expected.
It should be noted that concern over hearing loss isn’t confined to Bluetooth headsets. A similar class action suit against the makers of iPod, the enormously popular portable-stereo system, has also been filed. A recent study by audiologists at Harvard and the Children’s Hospital of Boston, found that MP3 players used at high-volume can in fact cause damage even when used for only minutes a day. As a result, it appears avid iPod users are putting their hearing at risk by listening to loud music for any period of time. According to the researchers, the key to avoiding hearing damage, appears to be limiting, not so much how long one listens to music, but how loud it’s played. The study was presented at a recent conference on noise-induced hearing loss in children.
Sources: Associated Press and St. Petersburg Times
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