Faster, quicker, smaller, lighter, brighter, louder, snazzier. Technological advances have their perks. But consumers are often reminded by doctors and experts that their use, or abuse, can have negative side effects.
Whether you commute to school, go to the gym, use the computer labs or merely walk to class, there is a very good chance that you’ve noticed the white ear bud headphones plugged into many students’ ears.
Recently, the iPod has been blamed for hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to its higher level volumes can cause hearing damage experts say.
The iPod packaging may be small and lightweight, but the burden down the line could be very heavy, said Dr. John Kelly, associate professor of clinical medicine at Temple. Kelly has specialized in orthopedics for 17 years and is familiar with the health risks associated with the new high-tech generation.
He expressed much concern with the growing popularity of iPods, and the risk of early damage to the ear.
Kelly attributed sound intensities of more than 80 decibels to hearing loss, especially when channeled through the widely used ear buds.
“We’re living in a country that’s going deaf due to high-frequency hearing loss,” Kelly said.
Listening to volumes as low as 85 decibels for more than eight hours a day is detrimental, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
Peak frequencies of iPods can reach up to 115 decibels, 10 more than that of a rock concert, the report said.
But just because you know overeating is bad for you, doesn’t mean you’ll part with the last piece of pie.
Stephan Bray, a senior advertising major, said, “at this point, it’s a part of people’s routines. They couldn’t survive without it.”
During the 54 hours a week Bray says he spends on the computer, he often turns up the volume on his iPod to muffle out background noise.
“People smoke and they know those health risks so what would stop them from using MP3s?” said Jonathan Coyne, a senior broadcast journalism major.
According to Dr. Kelly, the answer isn’t to avoid using new technology, but rather to maintain a balance through incorporating exercise with its usage and to realize the importance of social interaction.
“Draw boundaries and limits,” Kelly said. “Technology should be at your disposal, not you at its disposal. It’s a resource, not a lifestyle.”
Kristin Granero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.