One in 10 people with personal MP3 or
CD players could suffer permanent hearing
loss because their music is too loud, according to an
Scientists say those who listen at high volume for more than
one hour per day over five years risk permanent harm.
They say millions of people, including many children and
adolescents, could be affected.
The European Commission will now look into whether technical
improvements could minimise hearing damage.
Between 50 and 100 million people are estimated to use personal
music players on a daily basis.
The Commission asked the independent committee to conduct
the study because of concerns over widespread use of music
players among young people.
EU safety standards restrict the noise level of personal
music players to 100 decibels but there is increasing concern
about excessive exposure to music at high volumes.
Many listeners turn up the volume above harmful levels of
over 89 decibels to block out noise from traffic or public
The EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified
Health Risks concluded that between five and 10 per cent of
listeners, equating to 2.5 to 10 million people, could be
EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, said, "I
am concerned that so many young people, in particular, who
are frequent users of personal music players and mobile phones
at high acoustic levels, may be unknowingly damaging their
The Commission will now look into whether technical improvements
could minimise hearing damage and consider changes to safety
standards to protect youngsters.
Last year, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People found
more than half of young people who use MP3 players listen
for longer than that.
It tested the volume levels of 110 listeners and found 72
were above 85 decibels.