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Music: How Loud is Too Loud?

There are several reports of hearing loss related to the use of personal audio players (iPods, MP3 players, etc.) using either headphones or earbuds. Although the data on damage are not conclusive, children and teens should be educated about the potential danger of loud music, whether heard at concerts, dances, and other social events or through earbuds or headphones.


  • The personal digital audio player should be set at approximately 60% of maximum (maximum volume is about 100-110 decibels), and listening should be limited to 60 minutes daily.
  • The user should be able to hear conversations going on around him or her while listening to the music.
  • Earbuds generally have tighter seals with the ear canal than do headphones, so sound transfer may be more efficient with earbuds.
  • Ringing or a feeling of fullness in the ear definitely means the music was too loud.
Last Updated
Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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