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J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Jun;123(6):4227-37. doi: 10.1121/1.2904465.

Evaluating the maximum playback sound levels from portable digital audio players.

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Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, 775 Brookfield Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1C1 Canada.


To assess the maximum sound levels that may be experienced by young people in Canada from modern digital audio players, this study measured nine recent models of players and 20 earphones. Measurement methodology followed European standard BS EN 50332. Playback levels ranged from 101 to 107 dBA at maximum volume level. Estimated listener sound levels could vary from 79 to 125 dBA due to the following factors: (i) earphone seal against the ear, (ii) player output voltage, (iii) earphone sensitivity, and (iv) recorded music levels. There was a greater potential for high sound levels if intra-concha "earbud" earphones were used due to the effect of earphone seal. Simpler measurement techniques were explored as field test methods; the best results were obtained by sealing the microphone of a sound level meter to the earphone using a cupped hand and correcting for the free field response of the ear. Measurement of noise levels 0.25 m from the earphone showed that a bystander is unlikely to accurately judge listener sound levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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