My decibels are bigger than your decibels

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by Josh Ray on December 29 '05

Another holiday and another "watch out or lose your hearing" article. This time the iPod ear bud headphones are causing all the stir over at Slashdot. Not that any of us actually use Apple's included buds, but the valid warning applies to the soft Shure and Ultimate Ears to say nothing for the custom molded canal phones.

Because the buds are so deep in the ear, hearing damage is much more likely to happen compared to open cans like Sennheiser, Grado and AKG. Read the article for an interesting little anecdote about an audiologist's cruise through a college campus, rip out students' ear buds and measure the output. 110 to 120 decibels is what many students were rocking. Kinda spooky.

Most audiophiles know this is a serious issue and wouldn't be hard-pressed to name a few manufacturers and reviewers who are near-deaf. No joke and, well, no surprise, depending on how you look at it. So for our new young readers, consider this SonicFlare's once a year attempt at a public service: watch your decibels. But don't be alarmed by this sudden seriousness, we'll be back to our regular programming of inane banter and audio mastication shortly.


I was considering to purchase one of those Shure noise cancelling earbuds for my iPod, but after reading this I'll probably give them a second thought. The same things were said of us the Walkman generation though. Anyway, it has always struck me as ludicrous the fact of middle-aged folks spending thousands of dollars in exotic components, while they are actually becoming half-deaf from their teenage years onwards...