Deaf iPod Generation

The forum for non-component-related silent pc discussions.

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Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:56 am

The point here is that by using your ipod to mask other noise, you have to increase the over-all noise level to which your ears are exposed.

More noise = more chance of hearing loss. I-pods are making a whole generation gradually go deaf. And like smoking, you won't realize the danger till too late.

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Post by Linus » Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:55 am

Bluefront wrote:The point here is that by using your ipod to mask other noise, you have to increase the over-all noise level to which your ears are exposed.
This isn't necessarily true, is it? Most headphones provide some attenuation, and especially in the case of noise-cancelling headphones the music volume could actually be lower than the volume of the background noise. Think about in an airplane - that's got to be a net benefit for your hearing.

For me personally, I enjoy a quiet environment, and I also enjoy music. A quiet environment enhances my music listening experience, but the opportunity to turn everything off and enjoy the silence is key as well. I absolutely reject the direction bluefront seems to be going - that we should avoid as much sound as possible because it's dangerous. I refuse to spend the rest of my life with ear protectors on. We were given ears to hear with, and I intend to use mine. That being said, I do not like my music loud and do consider hearing loss when attending concerts and such.

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Post by Bluefront » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:44 am

All right.....if you use expensive noise-canceling ear-phones with the volume low, you're probably not in danger. But loud noises from all types of ear-phones happen accidently all the time. And having the thing right in your ear at the time, is the worst type of ear abuse. It's like a big explosion next to your ear. Normally you recover in a short while....but not always.

The std i-pod type cheap ear-buds, don't block external noise very well....cause you to increase volume to compensate. The dangers from these things are too great a risk for me. You use i-pods for a long time.....you'll be using hearing aids when you're older. Rest assured, when that time comes, you'll be cursing that i-pod that contributed to your hearing loss.

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Post by mathias » Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:07 am

I hear that headphones are particularly bad regarding hearing damage. How true is that, and if it is, why?

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Post by qviri » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:45 pm

Yes, that is correct; I am an escapist, I use music to separate me from the world more often than I probably should.

I do not, however, play it excessively loud: both my circumaural "huge" headphones and cheapo $12 Sony earphones block sounds quite well. The circumaurals are obviously better at it, but when my six-year-old earphones finally gave out and I got the Sonys, I distinctly noticed that they sounded "louder" because they blocked out more of the environment. I consequently lowered the volume.

I will also agree with Linus on the "joy of hearing".

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Post by Bluefront » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:03 pm

The "joy of hearing (loud music)" and the so-called "joy of smoking", fall into the same catagory. You are risking future health problems for the sake of some fleeting immediate benefit.

There are enough loud noises in your environment that you cannot avoid. Loud music (i-pods) you can. The dangers of even moderate noise exposure over long periods has been documented many times......Ignore the warnings, loose your hearing.

Link There are hundreds of google hits just like this.....many with scientific proof/studies.
Last edited by Bluefront on Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

qviri
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Post by qviri » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:07 pm

Bluefront wrote:"joy of hearing (loud music)"
Oh please. When did we ever say we will listen to music loud? Just because you cannot comprehend our ability to enjoy music while keeping it quiet doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Also, is it only me, or is iPod quickly becoming a genericized trademark in this discussion?

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Post by MikeC » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:18 pm

Bluefront wrote:The "joy of hearing (loud music)" and the so-called "joy of smoking", fall into the same catagory. You are risking future health problems for the sake of some fleeting immediate benefit.

There are enough loud noises in your environment that you cannot avoid. Loud music (i-pods) you can. The dangers of even moderate noise exposure over long periods has been documented many times......Ignore the warnings, loose your hearing.
Based on your comments, I should be just about deaf by now, considering my age. :lol: :lol:

There's no argument with your previous basic points: Long term exposure to loud sounds can and does lead to hearing damage. It's the premise of the news piece I posted in the first place. How loud, how long, and how much damage -- these may vary a lot. Recovery from exposure to very loud sounds can and does happen, and some people seem to be more prone to hearing damage than others -- just genetic variances, I presume.

But the music & smoking comparison just doesn't cut it. Music has the potential to uplift, enlighten, and enhance one's life. Cigarette smoking is totally different. I've been a smoker & love music & there's no way you can equate the two activities. No matter how you stretch it. I disagree that the pleasure from music is fleeting -- the notes may float through the air and then be gone, but their effects on people can be life-long -- and I don't mean on their hearing.

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Post by Hobbes26 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:46 pm

When listening to loud sounds for a long time, your threshold increases - your ears get used to the loud noise, and as a protective measure, temporarily decrease your sensitivity to noise. It's called temporary threshold shift (TTS). If the noises/sounds are loud enough, you get what's called a permanent threshold shift (PTS) where you lose some sensitivity in your hearing - you won't be able to hear quiet stuff as well.

Remember also that loud noises which cause hearing loss are partly frequency dependent. Headphones that distort when you turn them up loud create a lot of high-frequency content that's quite damaging to ears.

As for the industrial regulations limiting workplace exposure to 85 dBA... well, I've been to MANY industrial sites where there is a very blatant disregard for hearing protection, not by management, per se, but by the workers. Some industrial sites are just loud, and it can't really be helped - and it's quite an inconvenience to have to put on hearing protectors when you need to be able to hear other stuff going on, especially to hear if something goes wrong, or alarms and such. Enforcement of hearing in workplaces is quite a joke.

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Post by Bluefront » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:50 pm

A person's ability to tolorate noise without hearing loss varies quite a bit, and for no apparent reason. Some band members of loud bands, start loosing their hearing in their early 20's.......while others suffer no loss at all. It's the same with smoking....plenty of old people have smoked all their lives, with no health problems. These two problems are very similar, because of the gradual nature of the the problem.

And unless you have your hearing actually tested on a regular basis, you'll never realize you are suffering hearing loss. Same with smoking.....you just never realize how it is affecting you, unless you undergo frequent testing. I put the two in the same class.....they can both cause health problems

The other thing about this subject......long-term noise exposure, even with music at moderate/low levels, can be harmful.....you just never know.

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Post by qviri » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:16 pm

Bluefront wrote:The other thing about this subject......long-term noise exposure, even with music at moderate/low levels, can be harmful.....you just never know.
Then again, living itself is pretty bad for you... You always end up dying in the end.

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Post by mathias » Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:17 pm

qviri wrote:
Bluefront wrote:The other thing about this subject......long-term noise exposure, even with music at moderate/low levels, can be harmful.....you just never know.
Then again, living itself is pretty bad for you... You always end up dying in the end.
Is that really a problem? If you're appreaching a typical expiry date, and are in typical condition, you'll probably be so miserable that damaged hearing will be on page umpteen of your list of problems.

I don't really get the big fuss about smoking, if you quit by like 40 that prevents all but one year of aging accelleration, and why can't you just switch to chewing tabaco?

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Post by mathias » Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:40 pm

Haven't had any luck finding the article that said quiting smoking while relatively young prevents most of the damage, here's a very different one that suggests smoking to be on a completely different scale than loud music:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/dn7514

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Post by mattthemuppet » Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:41 pm

I think that's it in a nutshell qviri :)

I went to a talk by one of those otolayrnygywhatsamacallits some time ago which gave me the absolute willies about hearing loss and ever since I've been fairly paranoid about listening to loud music. Then again I don't own an MP3 player so it's not too much of an issue. I've fairly good hearing, particularly at high frequencies, and sometime wonder if a little lower sensitivity would be better, but then I realise I like hearing what's going on around me even if it's things I may not neccessarily like it's still my environment.

So I wouldn't put myself at either the extreme of Bluefront or the plugged in generation, but I do think it's up to the individual. Obviously educate people, but supposedly intelligent people do stupid stuff. Less nannying can only be a good thing.

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Post by Bluefront » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:49 pm

Well...in addition to my sister the Otolaryngologist telling me about such things, both my parents were using hearing aids by age 65. And they didn't listen to loud music either, as far as I know. Plus I've had at least two friends made deaf in one ear...presumably by frequenting loud night-clubs. And I have a case of Tinitus, probably caused by loud motor-cycles in a former life I lead.

So I'm careful about noise of any sort.....and do what I can to avoid further hearing loss. Extreme? Perhaps to you, but not to me, because I have first-hand knowledge of hearing loss......and it's not pretty.

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Post by Cerb » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:50 pm

MikeC wrote:The piece was interesting to mention in SPCR for several reasons:

1) MP3 players can play loud, and for a long time. I had not thought about the length, but it's a real factor in hearing damage.

2) The EU actually has a cap on max volume these things are allowed to produce. It may not be that useful, ultimately, but it says something about how advanced they (EU govt agencies?) are regarding noise pollution / hearing damage compared to everyone else.
I agree there, but it's like the U.S.'s anti-SPAM laws. It's all talk and pissing people off, but not doing much good. Now, if they required a certain output power, decent voltage, and then made it so the headphones had to have specific attentuation built in...but that'd be too involved to become viable, I think.
3) MP3 exist because of PCs.
The trouble with #2, as Buzku pointed out, is that output voltage swing, current, and power all do not correspond to actual SPL except on the stock phones. Most IEMs could still deafen you with the cap, while many headphones will end up getting turned up because of crappy output quality and ambient noise (yes, they both make a difference--better sound = lower sound).

Unlike Bluefront, I do need music all the time (or to be put in a third world nation where it could be quiet around), but am willing to spend as much on the final output stages as the player itself, to get good quality, lower volume, and when needed, isolation (for, again, lower volume).

Half of it just has to do with being aware of what you're reacting to, and what you can do about it. FI, right now, I'm not doing any computer listening, because I don't have a quiet PSU (should have that fixed again very soon :)), instead of just listening louder to drown it out. Previously, I listened too loud on the go, and so got IEMs. I also keep ER-20 with me all the time, now. Haven't used them except at a concert so far, but they're amazing.

...all of this doesn't even touch clipping and compression at all, which end up screwing up how you listen, since there's less (or no) quiet and loud parts, or the ability to override nature's TTS protections.
mathias wrote:I hear that headphones are particularly bad regarding hearing damage. How true is that, and if it is, why?
Because most people do not wish to attempt to become aware of their own actions, or to make the proper choices. A $70 IEM could save your hearing tons, but most people think that's too much to spend, after getting a $300+ player, and many of these people already can't hear high enough to hear TVs whine!

One problem with hearing in general is that a temporary shift causes you to lose some tone and range sense, which can make you want to turn it up higher. However, not doing anything about it is still just plain stupid. The general noise of suburbia is often louder than my music (I also make it a point to only use IEMs at loud times of day), and probably much worse for me (but, those guys not wearing protection while using lawnmowers, leafblowers, tinkering with their cars, etc., will get it worse than me).
Last edited by Cerb on Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mathias » Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:11 pm

Bluefront wrote:And I have a case of Tinitus, probably caused by loud motor-cycles in a former life I lead.
Look on the bright side, those motorcycles didn't get you killed. That's what I'd worry about more, and the immediate danger alone is enough to keep me away from that very tempting way to save gas.

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Post by Anorexicpeanut » Sun Dec 04, 2005 7:40 pm

12345
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Post by mattthemuppet » Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:08 pm

fair enough Bluefront, but I misphrased my sentence - I intended to make the point that you were at one end of an extreme in opinion, not that your opinions were extreme.

obviously it makes sense to most people to preserve oneself in as decent a condition as possible for as long as possible, but surely not to the point where you don't enjoy the life that you're preserving? Of course, the relative value of preservation, enjoyment and what constitutes enjoyment will vary markedly from person to person so any argument towards the merits of a particular approach will fall on the deaf ears of a large no. of people - not because what you say is wrong, but the basis on which you construct the argument is not relevant to them.

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Post by Apprentice_GM » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:27 pm

I'm surprised no-one has pointed out that ipod's (and MP3 players in general) music quality is crap, and listening to crap quality music at loud volumes sounds even worse to me than at low volumes (despite the oft-repeated mantra that people prefer, other things being equal, louder music eg AB speaker comparisons must have the same volume level otherwise people choose the louder regardless).

I can't believe people choose to listen to MP3's at 100 db or higher. But if they do then it's their own issue / problem, well as long as not too much sound escapes to annoy others in vicinity, unlike smoking where the smoker isn't just hurting their own health but others (which is worse IMHO).

I love listening to music at decent volume levels at home with quality amps and speakers, same for movies, love live concerts as well, but can't stand the compressed nature of MP3. I just hate it. Let alone at max volume - yuck.

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Post by Cerb » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:56 pm

Apprentice_GM wrote:I'm surprised no-one has pointed out that ipod's (and MP3 players in general) music quality is crap, and listening to crap quality music at loud volumes sounds even worse to me than at low volumes (despite the oft-repeated mantra that people prefer, other things being equal, louder music eg AB speaker comparisons must have the same volume level otherwise people choose the louder regardless).
I did :)
Amp = bliss
The output might not be bad (I've not used a line-out from an iPod, so can't compare--I'm fine using a Sigmatel 35xx), but controlling drivers is not most portables' forte.
I can't believe people choose to listen to MP3's at 100 db or higher. But if they do then it's their own issue / problem, well as long as not too much sound escapes to annoy others in vicinity, unlike smoking where the smoker isn't just hurting their own health but others (which is worse IMHO).

I love listening to music at decent volume levels at home with quality amps and speakers, same for movies, love live concerts as well, but can't stand the compressed nature of MP3.
MP3 is fine (not perfect, but fine). I'd be surprised if you could A/B decent MP3s*. It's crappy mastering that's terrible.
I just hate it. Let alone at max volume - yuck.
* Problem samples always exist somewhere, and, IMO, classical decent MP3s don't exist. MP3 for portable listening is great, even w/ IEMs

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Post by BlueCan » Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:22 pm

Bluefront wrote:Tragic commentary on the state of today's world. Qviri uses his ipod much like a baby uses a pacifier.....shields him from the sounds of the outside world, gives him comfort at the expense of his hearing. :lol:

This is SPCR.....and we visit here to learn how to quiet noisy computers. But why exactly? So we can stuff microphones in our ears, blast our hearing all to hell without any outside noise distractions?
Sigh... You might do some reasearch before you spout off... Have you ever used earplugs to attenuate noise? Many people use them while on airplane flights becuase they lower the sound threshold by 20db or so. Musicians use them onstage for the same reason.

A number of higher-end "headphones" referred to (colloqially) as "In Ear Monitors" use the same concept to lower the "noise floor" and enable you to listen to music at lowered volumes...

Whether people DO or not is not the choice of the iPod, the IEM, the headphone, the environment, the law or the government. It's the choice of the user.

-Patrick

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Post by Bluefront » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:08 am

I'm sure thare are a few people out there who use these i-pod devices to lower the amount of noise exposure they recieve.....but very few.

I suspect most people, and particularly young people, increase the amount of hearing loss by the use of these things. These arguments about noise exposure are particularly humorous, appearing on an SPCR forum..... :lol:

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Post by Cerb » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:20 am

Bluefront wrote:I'm sure thare are a few people out there who use these i-pod devices to lower the amount of noise exposure they recieve.....but very few.

I suspect most people, and particularly young people, increase the amount of hearing loss by the use of these things.
Absolutely. IMO, it's also pretty bad that you can't just stumble upon IEMs. So far, the only variant of this thing (started a month or three ago with an AP article) that has mentioned them and ear plugs has been in Rolling Stone (props to them for that, at least).
These arguments about noise exposure are particularly humorous, appearing on an SPCR forum..... :lol:
How so? It's fairly close to being on-topic, I think. Everything is getting louder (FI, most newerr portable and cell phones do not go to low enough volumes for me to comfortably use).

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Post by Bluefront » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:14 am

The humorous part to me involves SPCR members arguing for the use of a device practically designed for increasing noise exposure.....they quiet their computers while blasting their ears with an i-pod. This is funny....

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Post by StarfishChris » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:26 am

I didn't realise that iPods came with one setting, loud. How wrong I was to think there was a volume control - but then I should've guessed that already from the common occurrence of hearing rhythmic high-frequency noise two metres away from teenagers.

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Post by Cerb » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:00 am

Bluefront wrote:The humorous part to me involves SPCR members arguing for the use of a device practically designed for increasing noise exposure.....they quiet their computers while blasting their ears with an i-pod. This is funny....
People quieting their computers to reduce noise, and then using IEMs to reduce noise kind of goes together pretty well.

Where did a poster mention anything about "blasting their ears"?

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Post by qviri » Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:18 am

Cerb wrote:
Bluefront wrote:The humorous part to me involves SPCR members arguing for the use of a device practically designed for increasing noise exposure.....they quiet their computers while blasting their ears with an i-pod. This is funny....
People quieting their computers to reduce noise, and then using IEMs to reduce noise kind of goes together pretty well.

Where did a poster mention anything about "blasting their ears"?
But, but, iPods are as bad as cigarettes! Yeah... cigarettes!

:roll:

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Post by nici » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:34 pm

qviri wrote:
But, but, iPods are as bad as cigarettes! Yeah... cigarettes!

:roll:
Yeah, they smoke! :lol:

Im listening with earphones just now, Grado Labs 325i, not something to walk around the streets with but great at home :) They sound great on very low level, very good detail.

Oh and i like my PCs quiet and engines loud, the sound of a revving high-comp V8 or jap superbike sends chills up my spine everytime, along with a very stupid grin on my facee :mrgreen: Everytime.

Ok i admit that i used earplugs when i went to Monster Jam in a inside arena :lol: Yes, even Finland gets invaded by american madness :lol: Man, those f*ckers are LOUD!! :shock: :lol: Madusa, Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Superman, Mad Mutt(i think), and a sixt i cant remember, on an ice-hockey arena..

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Post by Bluefront » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:02 pm

I really don't think joking about potential noise-induced hearing loss is appropriate on the SPCR forum. Particularly since it's mostly kids who have the potential to suffer the consequences for the longest time, and it's mostly kids who are doing the most damage to their hearing.

Here's my partial solution to lower the potential risks using an i-pod type device.....

An LED or LCD numerical volume indicator on the device....say 1-100. Set it 1-50 a green lite appears. 50-75 a yellow lite, and 75-max a red lite. This would also be indicated by beeps in the headphones when you change volume. The device would always start-up at zero volume, so you would have to set the volume to your own preference, and not be surprised by a high setting. The numerical reading would be helpful to monitor any hearing changes you might be having.

A default max setting of 85db.....to get to the maximum volume,the device would have to be authorized electronically by an owner over 18, or a parent or guardian of someone younger. This could be easily done at the point of purchase. By signing an authouization permit, the parent would be made aware of the potential risk of high volumes.

There are enough consumer protection laws on the books right now that no new laws would be needed......in the USA anyway.

These i-pods are hazardous.....and it will take more than education to change the sad state of their usage right now.

:cry:

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