Wednesday, December 7

Bad MP3s for the ears?

A recent article from Brussels warns that young Europeans are in danger of damaging their ears when playing MP3s.

According to Reuters history, a European Union body on health risks warns that young Europeans are playing MP3s too loud through personal music players. However, the warning is not new, as adults and health officials have warned against hearing damage caused by loud music since the invention of the portable music device … if not before.

The EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks stated that listening to MP3 players and other music devices, at high volumes for long periods of time, can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. The Committee found that 5 to 10 percent of consumers are at risk of permanent hearing loss if they listen to loud music for one hour a day each week for at least five years. There is currently no cure for tinnitus or hearing loss.

“Let’s be frank: we are in for a catastrophe unless something is done soon,” said Stephen Russell of pan-European consumer safety group ANEC.

While the warning is more of the same as has been heard over the decades, one thing to keep in mind is the need for today’s music industry to deliver loud music. Many call it the “war of loudness” and, like Wikipedia dicta, this classification refers to the tendency of the music industry to “record, produce and broadcast music at ever-increasing volume levels each year to create a sound that stands out from the rest and from the previous year”. Wikipedia even shows an animated diagram showing the increasing trend in loudness displayed in the waveform.

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So while kids in the ’80s ignored parental scolding for listening to loud music through those nifty tape players, critics today have a stronger reason to warn against hearing damage with loud music levels. strongest and potentially harmful available in physical and digital form. . In fact, today’s music could cause fatigue.

“You get more apparent volume but less dynamic,” said producer Kevin Killen to the Sun diary Last year, he has worked with Elvis Costello, Tori Amos and Jewel. “In the end, the listener ends up feeling fatigued, a bit like an assault on the ears.”

In an effort to combat the volume wars, engineer Charles Dye co-founded Turn Me Up to demonstrate that musicians can create smoother, more dynamic recordings. He said record labels and producers didn’t originally set out to create loud music, “take the dynamics and excitement” out of the music, but continually increased the volumes over the years because everyone else was doing it.

Ultimately, it is not the actual MP3 that is the root of the problem, but the designed music compressed within the file. It would not be surprising for some organization to step in and regulate music volume levels by fining record companies or by implementing hardware volume limitations on music devices. Still, in the meantime, listeners should turn down the volume and preserve the eardrums before the music levels get deafening.

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