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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Personal stereo 'deafness fears'
Listening to personal stereos at high volumes could lead to hearing problems, a leading health specialist has warned.

Andrew Reid, honorary secretary of the British Society of Audiology, said loud music may even lead to deafness.

Some experts say that the popularity of personal digital music players could be putting listeners at risk.

Mr Reid, who is also head of audiology at Royal United Hospital, Bath, said over time it "could lead to problems such as tinnitus and hearing loss."

The first signs are often ringing or buzzing in the ears. If this occurs people need to turn down the volume straight away
Andrew Reid
His warning echoes concerns raised by the RNID. Its research has found that more than 40% of people who listen to their personal stereos regularly believe they listen to the music too loudly.

Brian Lamb, director of communications at the RNID, said: "(We are) concerned that many people are turning up the volume on their personal stereos to levels that could create hearing loss in the long term".

Regular breaks

Mr Reid, who was speaking on behalf of the British Society of Audiology, said users often turned up the volume on their personal stereos to potentially dangerous levels to drown out background noise.

"The first signs are often ringing or buzzing in the ears," he said.

"If this occurs people need to turn down the volume straight away, and if the problems persist go and see their GP."

He advised people to look for systems with an automatic volume limiter, or set the volume levels in a quiet room and not turn the music up in a noisy setting.

The RNID urged people to use protective filters in headphones and take regular breaks from listening to personal stereos.




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