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A Study of Hearing Damage Caused by Personal MP3 Players

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This paper aims to assess the actual in-hear sound pressure level during use of mp3 players. The method is based on standard EN 50332 (100dB as maximum SPL), IEC 60959 (HATS) and IEC 60711 (ear simulators), as explained in the January 2007 issue of the Bruel and Kjaer Magazine (page 13) [1]. In this study a number of MP3 players were tested, employing a dummy head and a software for spectrum analysis. The measurements were aimed to assess the hearing damage risk for youngsters who employ an MP3 player for several hours/day. The students of an Italian high school (15-18 years old) were asked to supply their personal devices for testing, leaving untouched the gain from the last usage. The results show that the risk of hearing damage is real for many of the devices tested, which revealed to be capable of reproducing average sound pressure levels well above the risk threshold.

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