Only few earbuds users are aware of the possible hearing impairment from listening loud music for many hours. Bulky earmuff-type headphones appear to be safer but also less attractive and therefore less often used.
The earbuds used by iPod listeners can boost the audio signal by as many as nine decibels as they are placed directly into the ear. For those who may not know, nine decibels makes a difference in sound intensity between an alarm clock and a lawn mower. Cranking up the volume to avoid background noise, make the difference even greater.
Development of the new technology enables longer battery life, greater music storage capacity of MP3 players and therefore longer periods of uninterrupted music listening.
That is the main problem with iPods-combination of high intensity and long duration that could impair the hearing.
Switching to earmuff-style headphones would certainly make a difference. However, many style-aware music lovers are not willing to give up earbuds and are offered an alternative from the scientists to cut down the volume or reduce the time spent with earbuds in their ears to preserve their hearing.