Special Assignment: The iPod Generation

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

November 6, 2006

It's five years old and one of the hottest pieces of technology: the iPod.

Teens and adults love them.

It's easy to adjust the volume...just run your finger over a wheel.

But it gets loud, and that's a problem. It can be a serious strain on young ears, and even cause permanent damage.

So in a Special Assignment, News 12 is On Your Side with how parents are taking back control.

For about 5 years, the maker of the iPod, Apple, has been perfecting the portable music player.

The latest can hold up to 20,000 songs.

If you ask Robert Robertson and Cody Shafer, it is something almost every teen has to have.

The boys hang out together. Both have dreams of playing in the Masters, and they listen to much of the same music.

Sometimes they turn their iPods all the way up.

Cody admits he listens to loud music a lot more than Robert.

That's not music to audiologist Katy Oliver's ears.

"You can have temporary loss with the volume up loud, permanent damage," she told News 12. "It's definitely important."

And it's evident in some of today's adults.

Loud music is nothing new.

"There's certainly, back in the 80's, people have hearing loss because bands were loud, so iPod can certainly create a problem for hearing loss," said Oliver.

And that's where some parents are jumping in. They're downloading software on the Internet, putting a stop to turning the volume all the way up.

A free download is available at Apple's website. It gives mom or dad the authority to set a maximum volume.

"It says the iPod can produce up to 120 decibels, which is like a police siren," said Oliver.

Parents are doing their part because they realize they might really know just a little more than the kids.

"Obviously kids probably don't understand loud music can destroy hearing," Oliver said.

If you'd like to get the free volume download, click here.

Some audiologists offer attachments on the earphones that block out background noise. The theory is that if you can't hear that background noise, you won't turn the volume up so loud.

Here are some good signs your music is too loud:

  • Volume is set higher than 60 percent of the maximum

  • You can't hear conversations going on around you

  • People near you can hear your music

  • You shout to talk to people nearby


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