Just A Little Bit Louder Now

Mikel McCavana is a typical video game playing, cell phone talking, music obsessed teenager. He's even in a rock band, and he loves his iPod.

"Pretty much every day, every moment that I can fit it in, I try to listen to music," Mikel says.

But CBS News medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall reports when the volume goes up, so does the risk of hearing loss — dramatically.

Audiologist Brian Fligor of Children's Hospital Boston has found that personal stereo systems, like the iPod, can lead to significant hearing loss. He says there are two critical factors: how loud the music is and how long you listen.

"Noise induced hearing loss develops insidiously," Fligor says.

He tested to see how loud Dr. Marshall likes her music. She was safe at around 80 decibels — or about half way up the dial.

But at decibel levels over 85, Fligor suggests no more than an hour a day with headsets outside the ears — and only 15 minutes with those inside.

"For some types of inner ear phones, most certainly, there is greater potential for danger," Fligor says.

While kids might be the most vulnerable to hearing loss, the generation which included the first Walkman users is now showing some of the worst hearing loss.

Kathy Peck was a singer for an all-girl punk band until her hearing was damaged at a concert in 1984.

"After that show, I suffered hearing loss and tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears," says Peck, who is the executive director and co-founder of Hearing Education and Awareness For Rockers (H.E.A.R.).

Peck teamed up with Pete Townsend of The Who to warn people of all generations that too much of a good thing can be damaging.

"If someone can hear your system next to you, if you're on the bus or something, it's too loud — it's way too loud," Peck says.

And it doesn't matter what type of music you enjoy — your ears don't discriminate. You can love rock 'n roll for a lifetime — if you just turn down the volume.
  • Gina Pace

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