A commercial board for the Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod is seen inside a metro station in downtown Paris March 22, 2006. Listening to personal music players at a high volume over a sustained period can lead to permanent hearing damage, European Union (EU) scientists warned Monday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
BRUSSELS, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Listening to personal music players at a high volume over a sustained period can lead to permanent hearing damage, European Union (EU) scientists warned Monday.
Five to 10 percent of personal music player listeners
risk permanent hearing loss, if they listen to a personal music player for more
than one hour per day each week at high volume settings for at least five years,
according to an opinion of the EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly
Identified Health Risks released Monday.
The committee gave the opinion after the European
Commission asked it to examine the health issue, given the widespread use of
personal music players and the surge in the number of young people exposed to
The Commission, the executive body of the EU, said it
would examine possible measures to better protect children and adolescents from
exposure to noise from personal music players and other similar devices.
The Commission is organizing a conference in early
2009 in Brussels to evaluate the findings of the Scientific Committee with EU
member states, industry, consumers and other stakeholders. The seminar will
address precautions that users can take, as well as technical solutions to
minimize hearing damage and the need for further regulations or revisions of
existing safety standards to protect consumers.
"The scientific findings indicate a clear risk and we
need to react rapidly. Most importantly we need to raise consumer awareness and
put this information in the public domain. We need also to look again at the
controls in place, in the light of this scientific advice, to make sure they are
fully effective and keep pace with new technology," said EU Consumer Affairs
Commissioner Meglena Kuneva.
In recent years sales of personal music players have
soared, in particular those of MP3 players. Overall, in the EU, it is estimated
that roughly 50 to 100 million people might be listening to portable music
players on a daily basis.