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HNO. 1995 Apr;43(4):244-9.

[Empirical studies of music listening habits of adolescents. Optimizing sound threshold limits for cassette players and discoteques].

[Article in German]

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Umweltbundesamt, Institut für Wasser-, Boden- und Lufthygiene, Berlin.


The music habits of 569 pre-teens and teenagers, between 10 and 17 years of age, were examined and exposure to music from portable music players was compared to that in discotheques. Using a questionnaire we determined the length of time spent listening to portable music players and the frequency of disco visits. The individual level of the music heard through portable music players was measured as a free-field corrected short term mean level. The total music exposure (related to 40 hours per week) was calculated from the data and different assumed disco sound levels. We estimated the risk of ear damage according to ISO 1999 standards on the basis of the total music exposure, whereby the mean disco level was varied as a parameter in the range of 95 to 110 dB(A). Taking only the portable music players into account, one can expect that even after 5 years of music, approximately 5% of the total group would have a hearing loss of 20 dB. This percentage clearly rises when additional exposure is given in discotheques having music levels above 100 dB(A). We suggest therefore that for safety reasons the following sound levels should be observed: 90 dB(A) for portable music players and 95 dB(A) for discos. Through adherence to these levels we would expect that 1% of the young people in our study would have a hearing loss > 10 dB, whereas momentary exposure would result in a hearing loss > 10 dB of 10-20%. Therefore we believe that sound level limitations should be enacted immediately for portable music players and in discotheques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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