Melbourne, June 10 : You might love listening to your favourite music on your iPods, but a new survey has revealed that more than 70 pct of young adults are loosing their hearing power, thanks to the increasing use of headphones.
The survey led by Australian Hearing showed that more than 70 pct of the youngsters are suffering from the first sign of hearing loss with tinnitus or ringing in the ear.
This may be due to listening to music played at dangerously loud levels through headphones.
"That was a real surprise because that was actually more common than the older respondents," News.com.au quoted Professor Harvey Dillon, director of the National Acoustics Laboratory at Australian Hearing, as telling Fairfax radio.
"Mostly for the younger people it didn't happen very often, and it didn't last for very long when it did happen. But it did happen.
"And we think that that's probably a warning sign for them," he added.
The survey also revealed that two thirds of people listened to music through headphones and of those, 60 per cent played music at dangerous loud levels.
Prof Dillon said it could take just weeks for hearing loss to begin.
"That's part of the problem. Although it's happening, definitely, it's happening gradually and slowly and people just don't notice it," he said.
Some 25 per cent of younger people thought that if they damaged their hearing it would get better, he added.
The risk of damage occurred in two stages when people go to concerts or noisy venues.
"Both occurred inside the inner ear and while one was temporary the other was permanent," he said.
"We tend to notice the temporary loss of hearing and we notice it come back over the next day or two.
"What we don't notice is that at the same time, in the same place but through a different mechanism, there's also a permanent loss going on.
"A few hair cells dying here, a few hair cells dying there and they add up from time to time," he added.
Prof Dillon said that safe headphone audio levels were 85 decibels, averaged over an eight-hour day.
He also advised workers exposed to loud machinery or industrial noise to wear earmuffs or plugs to protect their hearing.