Bad iPod: Negative Effects of iPod Listening

Wondering about what the negative effects of iPod listening may be? It can damage your hearing if you play your music loud. That’s pretty “common sense” knowledge but it’s disheartening to know that, according to this research, as many as 25% of iPod users are damaging their ears because of bad iPod listening habits.

Via Sydney Morning Herald:

Up to a quarter of iPod users have listening habits that can damage their hearing, research shows.

The US-based study also found asking a teenager to turn down their MP3 player could have the opposite affect, while teens who voiced the most concern about hearing loss often played their music the loudest.

Says researcher Cory Portnuff of the University of Colorado: “We really don’t have a good explanation for why teens concerned about hearing loss risk actually play their music louder than others,” said doctoral candidate Cory Portnuff, of the University of Colorado.

“But we do know that teens who knew what the benefits were of listening at lower levels had less hearing loss risk, which is why we believe targeted education is the key.”

Broken down to gender and age groups, “the study found teenage boys generally listened to their personal MP3 players at a higher volume than girls. Teens played their music louder than young adults did, and teens may inaccurately perceive how loudly they were playing their music.”

But aren’t iPods the same as the obsolete Walkmans in terms of their effect on hearing? Portnuff concedes that similar results came up for Walkman’s in past studies but points out an important and critical difference between the two music technologies:

“(However) one of the concerns we have today is that while Walkmans back then operated on AA batteries that usually began to run down after several hours, teenagers today can listen to their iPods for up to 20 hours without recharging them,” Mr Portnuff said.

Susan Greenfield: Effects of Social Networking Websites
24 February 2009

Wondering what Facebook, Friendster, Twitter, and other social networking websites are doing to you and your children. It’s not pretty, honey. We’re becoming a people with short attention spans. Scary huh? What? We lost you already? Oh crap.

From the Daily Mail:

Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.

The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favourite websites each day.

And what does Greenfield say exactly about the negative effects of Facebook?

‘My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.’

‘I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf.

‘It is hard to see how living this way on a daily basis will not result in brains, or rather minds, different from those of previous generations.

‘Of course, we do not know whether the current increase in autism is due more to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, or whether it can – if there is a true increase – be in any way linked to an increased prevalence among people of spending time in screen relationships. Surely it is a point worth considering.’

Greenfield got some support from Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, who had this to say about the matter: ‘We are seeing children’s brain development damaged because they don’t engage in the activity they have engaged in for millennia. I’m not against technology and computers. But before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people.’