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IEM Warning - Page 2

post #16 of 67
Thread Starter 
Kurisyna I will try a good break - I will admit that it is difficult though as iems have been such a staple of mine since years ago. It might be as was mentioned spiritual but something is up. The tv reports and news was all from japan perhaps I can look to see if anything came up on Internet I know there are some of you who seem to be able to read Japanese. Cheers
post #17 of 67
Your argument holds just as true for somebody who works in an environment where they are exposed to a constant level of sound for long periods of time and has nothing to do with IEM's specifically. Any sound form any device at any distance from the ear drum CAN POSSIBLY cause hearing loss.

This is a quote from the Mayo Clinic:
Most hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea. Tiny hairs in the cochlea may break or become bent, and nerve cells may degenerate. When the nerve cells or the hairs are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren't transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs. Higher pitched tones may become muffled to you. It may become difficult for you to pick out words against background noise.

To say that IEM's cause hearing loss is akin to saying that potato chips cause obesity because I ate potato chips for 8 hours every day and I got fat.
post #18 of 67
Shigzeo: exactly why i havent really listened to my iPod in a few months - ear plugs! (besides, my home rig sounds sooo much better and i don't want to carry an amp anymore)
post #19 of 67
Thread Starter 
Funny I feel that we are arguing the exact same thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMR View Post
Your argument holds just as true for somebody who works in an environment where they are exposed to a constant level of sound for long periods of time and has nothing to do with IEM's specifically. Any sound form any device at any distance from the ear drum CAN POSSIBLY cause hearing loss.

This is a quote from the Mayo Clinic:
Most hearing loss results from damage to the cochlea. Tiny hairs in the cochlea may break or become bent, and nerve cells may degenerate. When the nerve cells or the hairs are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren't transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs. Higher pitched tones may become muffled to you. It may become difficult for you to pick out words against background noise.

To say that IEM's cause hearing loss is akin to saying that potato chips cause obesity because I ate potato chips for 8 hours every day and I got fat.
post #20 of 67
I recommend this study to you:

http://www.hearingconservation.org/d...FligorIves.pdf

The authors measured the average listening volume of a variety of earphones and found that in louder environments, people listened to the ER6i at substantially lower volumes than they did with other types of earphones. For example, with 80dB of background noise, the test subjects listened to the ER6i at an average volume of 78dB, while they listened to Apple earbuds at 89dB.

Significantly, the listening levels were measured "in the subjects’ ear canal using a thin tube attached to a microphone, which fed the information out of the booth to a computer for recording." Thus, the results of this study confirms that IEMs produce less pressure on the ears than certain other forms of earphones, because the listener tends to use them at lower volume.

(Note that the volume measure in the study is in "dBA." Though the study doesn't specifically say, "dBA" usually refers to A-weight dB SPL, where SPL means "sound pressure level." Thus, this study measured the actually sound pressure level produced by IEMs in the ear canal.)
post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
I recommend this study to you:

http://www.hearingconservation.org/d...FligorIves.pdf

The authors measured the average listening volume of a variety of earphones and found that in louder environments, people listened to the ER6i at substantially lower volumes than they did with other types of earphones. For example, with 80dB of background noise, the test subjects listened to the ER6i at an average volume of 78dB, while they listened to Apple earbuds at 89dB.

Significantly, the listening levels were measured "in the subjects’ ear canal using a thin tube attached to a microphone, which fed the information out of the booth to a computer for recording." Thus, the results of this study confirms that IEMs produce less pressure on the ears than certain other forms of earphones, because the listener tends to use them at lower volume.

(Note that the volume measure in the study is in "dBA." Though the study doesn't specifically say, "dBA" usually refers to A-weight dB SPL, where SPL means "sound pressure level." Thus, this study measured the actually sound pressure level produced by IEMs in the ear canal.)

+1 It is the SPL experienced by the inner ear that damages hearing, and it doesn't matter whether that SPL is generated by IEMs, buds, cans or a 3rd row seat at a Metallica concert.
post #22 of 67
The study cited by Febs is a cause for concern.

Note that in the noisy environment, the IEM users listened at lower volumes than the regular earphone users, but they still listened at an AVERAGE level of 78 dB. 20% listened at 85 or more decibels -- definitely enough to cause hearing damage over an extended period of time. I like how the study says it is "only" 20% -- as if it wasn't worrisome that one in five people were listening at damaging levels. Was their study funded by Etymotics?

Also note that the World Health Organization uses 75 db for 8 hours as their "not shown to be harmful" level. (They don't say SAFE, they only say that there isn't evidence yet concerning lower noise levels.) In other words, even the average 78 dB in the study might be a cause for concern if you listen to it for long periods. And with the widespread use of mp3 players, people ARE listening for hours at a time without a break, in a way that they couldn't with old cassette Walkmans or CD players.

I'd worry that many IEM users may have a false sense of security from using them. Note that the Canadian Hearing Society found that average urban noise levels in Toronto were around 77 dB -- and they were even higher in some indoor locations like clothing stores:

CHS | Noise: Urban Noise

In other words, in addition to really noisy environments like airplanes, people may be setting their players too loud on a daily basis.
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danfried View Post
Note that in the noisy environment, the IEM users listened at lower volumes than the regular earphone users, but they still listened at an AVERAGE level of 78 dB.
Note, however, that the average 78 dB listening level was at an ambient noise level of 80 dB, so the IEMs, on average, actually reduced the noise exposure of the listeners in that situation.

Quote:
Also note that the World Health Organization uses 75 db for 8 hours as their "not shown to be harmful" level. (They don't say SAFE, they only say that there isn't evidence yet concerning lower noise levels.)
Those numbers are significantly more conservative than the guidelines published by OSHA. If I remember correctly, OSHA allows exposure of up to 85 dB in an 8 hour workday before requiring hearing protection.
post #24 of 67
One of my concerns is the dynamic peak pressure levels that can
be achieved with canal phones. Even very brief exposure to high SPLs is bad
for the ears. I suspect that due to the nature of the good seal, that
the ability to produce high peak pressures within the ear canal is substantial.

I'm a bit suprised at a study that would report A-weighted SPL, since that weighting is used to evaluate 'perceived' volume levels. Damage from high SPLs can occur regardless of perceived loudness.
What is interesting is that it's the total power (SPL over time) that determines the amount of damage.

The only way to really be 'safe' with any kind of 'phone is to have limiters and compressors that actively limit the maximum SPL that can be produced at the ear. Unfortunatly, none of the products that I've seen have that feature.
Do any of the headphone amps provide limiting compressors? (not forgetting that to work properly, it would still need to be calibrated based on the sensitivity curve of the earphone)
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nc8000 View Post
I love my iem's as I hate earbuds but I have been thinking about limiting their use but from a completely different angle. I usually use them for 3-4 hours at a time as that is how long my stretches of transport often amount to. What I'm wondering is whether the fact that you don't get fresh air circulating to the ears could have some effect just like some people have problems using contact lenses because they don't get air enough to the eye.
No, your ears get oxygen from your nose, because your ears and nose work together. This is why you hold your nose to pop your ears.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_B View Post
The only way to really be 'safe' with any kind of 'phone is to have limiters and compressors that actively limit the maximum SPL that can be produced at the ear. Unfortunatly, none of the products that I've seen have that feature.
Do any of the headphone amps provide limiting compressors? (not forgetting that to work properly, it would still need to be calibrated based on the sensitivity curve of the earphone)
If I remember correctly, only the real IEM system (those pro rig used on stage) comes with such a system to automatically limit any sudden increase in volume that might cause the SPL to reach dangerous level at any time. The rest of us rely on a good/dependable source and hope for the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pez View Post
No, your ears get oxygen from your nose, because your ears and nose work together. This is why you hold your nose to pop your ears.
No, you ears doesn't need to breathe cause you are getting 99.99% of all the oxygen needed from your lung. The only reason for air (not just oxygen) to get into the middle ear is so it can balance the air pressure b/w both side of ear drum. The reason for air to get to the ear canal cause it can remove excess moisture (excess moisture = bed for bacteria). In the case of excess moisture (such as using IEM), the canal produces more wax to entrap/suppress bacterial growth. This is why it is always good for IEM user to 'unplug' once in a while for fresh air, and clear you ear canal in regular interval.
post #27 of 67
IEMs protect my hearing, they do not destroy it I use them as a hearing protection at work and the noise there is much higher than the level I listen to with my music...

The worst you can do for your hearing is a loud noise at the same freqens often, then you can get what is called a "dip" I have a "dip" caused be an airvalve I stood next to in a couple of years....

Protect your ears folks, lost hearing never comes back...
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
Note, however, that the average 78 dB listening level was at an ambient noise level of 80 dB, so the IEMs, on average, actually reduced the noise exposure of the listeners in that situation.

Those numbers are significantly more conservative than the guidelines published by OSHA. If I remember correctly, OSHA allows exposure of up to 85 dB in an 8 hour workday before requiring hearing protection.
A good point, but again -- people should be aware that it's not good to crank up their IEMs because their surroundings are noisy. Yeah, 78 is better than 80 -- but less than 75 would be better than 78! Not to mention the fact that with 78 as an average level, there were those 20% listening above 85. I really wish that something like Michael_B suggested was a common feature, because I don't really know personally how loud these levels sound with my own IEMs, and for most people, just telling them "lower is better" may be difficult advice to follow.

And I mentioned the WHO figure _precisely_ because it is more conservative than the OSHA guidelines. Just because OSHA says 85 and up will cause harm does not mean that anything below 85 is safe.
post #29 of 67
With some of the current lawsuits, and advent of 'parental volume locks', it might not be long before we see some kind of limiters built into DAPs
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_B View Post
With some of the current lawsuits, and advent of 'parental volume locks', it might not be long before we see some kind of limiters built into DAPs
Funny you mention that, I've heard that Apple wants to include an auto-volume control for safer listening.
Kudos to them!(this is the only time I will ever praise an Apple product)

Check it out here: Today @ PC World Report: Apple to Reduce Hearing Damage with iPod Volume Control
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