Hearing Loss Attributed to the 21st Century use of Personal Music Player Essay
In the recent few years leisure noise has become one of the threats to the hearing as it can reach high volumes and an increasing number of people are exposed. The danger is not only exposed by the music from the clubs but also it has been extended to the new generation of music players which are known to produce sounds at high volumes. Across Europe it is estimated that millions of people are using personal music players on a daily basis and in most of the cases these gadgets are being used inappropriately putting the user at a great risk of ear damage.
This is a serious concern as the emerging technology may cause numerous problems to the people who are fond of using these entertainment gadgets. To add salt into the injury the users are exposing themselves to this particular danger for a long time as they are spending substantial time listening to music using ear phones. The amount of time one exposes to the sound of loud music from the personal music players increases the chances of hearing loss.
The children and the youth are at risk as they have been noted to constitute the highest proportion of users.
In this paper I will discuss the dangers involved in the use of personal music player and at the same time bring into the understanding who should be blamed for the hearing loss as a result of the constant use of these gadgets. Is it the makers of the personal music players or should we blame the users for putting their life at risk? A scientific study that was carried out for the European Union revealed that noise from the personal music players is a routine pollution for many people.
It threatens permanent damage of the ear to as many as hundred million people in Europe and other parts of the world. The report indicated that those people who listened to the music for a continuous five hours per week on high volume were exposing themselves to high noise than it is allowed in the factory work places. This means that users of the personal music player who prefer to listen to their music on high volume are at a worse position than workers who are located in a noisy factory in an industrial hub.
(Linkov,I and Steevens,J 2009 359) Experts argue that the maximum volume from these equipments can generate as much noise as an aero plane that is taking off. That kind of noise is enough to make a person have a quick and permanent hearing loss. The worst thing according to this report is that the users do not realize the problem until very late. This is the time when the damage has already been caused and nothing can be done about it.
It is a very sad situation where a young person with bright future prospects losses his or her ability to hear at such an early age, it can be a very devastating experience but whom do we blame? Do we pass the buck to the manufacturer of these gadgets fro their neglect or do we blame the users for sometimes knowingly exposing themselves to dangers through their constant use of the music players. (Jameson,P and Romer,D 2008 347) The MP3 generation is headed for permanent hearing impairment in the cause of their lives.
The youth are at the greatest risk as well as the older people too, in twenty seven countries across Europe it is estimated that fifty to a hundred million people out of five hundred people may be listening to a portable personal music player at any given time. Equivalents of five percent listeners who expose themselves to these new generation entertainment gadgets for more than one hour are at the greatest risk. These statistics have raised fears among some people prompting them to take some actions so as to avoid a future generation which has numerous problems which has been caused by things which can only be described as luxurious.
In the year 2006 a man in Louisiana sued one of the manufacturing firms, The Apple claiming that this company had failed to take enough steps to prevent the problem of hearing loss among the users of one its popular product, the iPod. The suit which was filed in a federal district court in California city of San Jose claimed that iPod produces a sound which is as loud as one hundred and fifteen decibels when the maximum sound that is considered safe for listening is eighty five decibels.
To this man the Apple Company was to blame for the problem that is threatening to have millions of deaf people in some years to come. I tend to disagree with his sentiments as it is clearly evident that the ipods sold by this company and many other manufacturer comes with a warning in the manual where the users are warned about the dangers they expose themselves into through playing the music in high volumes from their personal music players. It is blatantly clear that the users expose themselves to the risk of hearing loss through ignoring the warnings given by the manufacturers.
The companies can not escape blame too, such warnings are printed using very tiny fonts such that not all the users might get a chance to read the small inscriptions which are usually placed on a page where the user might not even see. (Kirk,R and Mayshork,C 2007 73) The risk involved do not only come from ipods, the portable phones and personal stereos pose a similar problem as their earphones leads to a high sound exposure than any other type of a listening device.
It has been stressed that young people who continue to expose themselves through listening to the high volume music from their music devices usually run into the risk of developing some hearing complications by the time they hit their twenties. Problems such as persistent tinnitus which is induced by high volume music has been reported common among the people in their youth and are constant users of the personal music devices. Despite this problem the same people continue using these devices.
Therefore the problem squarely lies with the users, they are clearly aware of the risks involved, they have gone through numerous problems which have been as a result of their insatiable appetite for entertainment but they still continue to expose themselves to the risk. This can only be termed as deliberate move by these users to harm themselves and it is for this reason we can not blame the companies for the problems that are being experienced by the MP3 generation. The manufacturing firms only came to fill the gap that existed; they offer satisfaction to the people who are keen on entertainment especially when they are on move.
They have clearly indicated the dangers one can expose him or herself to if the device is not used properly, that is if it is put on high volumes but the users choose to ignore such information for their personal reasons. (Tulchinsky,T and Varavikova,N 2000 285) The choices we make in life determine the direction we head, if we make the right ones we will always be on the right direction, if we happen to take the wrong choices as we mostly do then we are bound to blame others for the trouble we may get ourselves into later in our lives.
It is extremely important for us to make the right decision as pertaining what we do as the opposite can lead to devastating effects. People have a choice of either buying a personal music player or any other similar device, they make a choice as to whether they will listen to the music high or low, it is basically a matter of choice. There is nothing about MP3 technology that can directly lead to hearing loss. It is the choice we make.
For those users who choose to always put their devices at manageable and recommended sounds the problem of hearing impairment might not affect them but for those who choose to ignore the warnings given by the manufacturers, this problem will affect the rest of their lives. They just make a mistake of listening to the music on loud volumes for too long therefore exposing themselves to al manner of dangers associated with the noise. (Chan,S and Kwok,S 2003 34) The European Union is planning to regulate the volumes on personal music players and other stereos due to the fears that usage of these devices is causing the damage to the ears.
This action has been precipitated by the findings of the scientific commission which was given a task of coming out with ways in to which this problem that is threatening the ability of million to hear can be tackled. In normal circumstances the personal music players are allowed to go up to one hundred decibels but when it used with an inbuilt headphones the sound can go up to one hundred and twenty. This is way above the recommended safe sound volumes which are close to eighty five. The recommended sound levels by the European Union committee are eighty, a figure which has been pointed out as safe enough to warrant any fears.
This clearly points out that it is only a matter of educating the users on how they are supposed to go about listening to music using their sophisticated technology. If someone decided to ignore the message, he or she can not blame the manufacturing company for the problems that hearing problems which might occur later in life due to inappropriate use of the device (Linkov,I and Steevens,J 2009 359) For the sake of those who ignore the information given by the manufacturers, the makers of these devices should be advised to limit the volume levels so that they do not exceed the recommended limits.
Though this might affect their sales it is the right thing to do as it will save those who have a problem following the given instructions. The company will in the short term suffer minimal losses but in the long term they will have more users as they will have expanded the markets as the effects of these devices to the ears will be minimal. The users will have won the confident of the music players as they have been set according to the standards which are considered safe for average use. (Davis,G 2004 40)
The government can not limit the time a given person will spend on the personal music player. This is an individual choice; we spend as much time as we can get on these entertainment gadgets. Therefore it is up to the users to limit themselves as to how long they are going to be exposed . The user should ensure that they spend less time listening to the music through their devices to minimise the risk involved. All these points indicate that the manufacturing companies have no role to play as far as the usage of the personal music player is concerned.
Their duty is to inform the users of the dangers involved through playing it loud and continuos exposure over a long period. The rest lies with the person using the gadget to decide how much time he or she is going to spend listening and on what volume they will get their music. If one decides to put his or her health at risk you can not turn at the company and blame it for the presonal problems which were as aresult of own volition. The government has the responsibility of ensuring that the manufacturing company follow the standards as far as making of the personal music players is concerned.
This will go a long way in saving the users who are conscious about their health. The recommeded standards should include limiting the volume settings to a particular level which can not harm the user even if the decide to ignore the warnings. People need to take a responsibility as far as their actions are concerned. There is a need for every user to take precautiosn as far as usage of these devices is concerned. Inappropriate use can lead to devastatiting health effects which would have been prevented if the user was careful.
Technology advancement has come to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. This can only be achieved if we use this technology appropriately,use of personal music player beyond the recommended sound volume can lead to seroius effects which are not related to the manufacturing. The user have all the responsibility to ensure that this piece of sophistication does not harm him or her rather it serves the right purpose which is entertainment. (Markel,G 2007 25) The manufacturing company should carry a warning on the users who violate the instructions which comes along with the product.
They have a responsibility to save the end users from their own ignorance. They can do this through offering and sponsoring sessions where users get to be taught on the proper methods of handling these entertainment equipement. This can help save some people but the biggest part should be played by the end user,they must use the device responsbly so as to avoid complications that might be brought by high sound volumes besides the time spent listening to the music at the expense of other important actiivities such as studying.
The sole responsbility of the hearing loss as a result of inappropriate use of the personal music player and other related devices lies squarely on the user. He or she has the ability to control its use and therefore ealding a healthy life. (Anderson,B 2004 103) Work Cited Tulchinsky,T and Varavikova,N The New Public Health:An Introduction for the 21st Century,Academic Press (2000) Linkov,I and Steevens,J Nanomaterials ,Spring Publishers (2009) Davis,G How to do Everything with your iPod and iPod Mini,Mac Graw Hill Professionals (2004)
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