A Yale Professor has issued a stark warning on the dangers of listening to iPods and personal MP3 players at dangerously high volume.

Putting earphones into your ear canal intensifies the volume which can hit up to 120 decibels, which is the same as standing next to a jet engine, claims Professor Peter Rabinowitz of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine programme at Yale University.

Suffering from deafness and hearing problems later in life is one of the most common medical problems in older people, and is generally caused by long-term exposure to high volume noise.

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Professor Rabinowitz, writing in the British Medical Journal this month, says that personal music player use has "grown faster than our ability to assess their potential health consequences."

Rabinowitz added: "Clinicians should advise current users to avoid listening to personal music players at maximum volume. Regarding other safety concerns, it would be prudent to advise removing earphones while driving and performing other safety-sensitive tasks.

"As clinicians come to grips with how electronic devices that afford so much pleasure may also produce harm, personal music players provide a reminder that our hunger for new technology should be accompanied by equally vigorous efforts to understand and manage the health consequences of changing lifestyles."

The EU is currently developing new regulations for the manufacture of personal music players.

Via The Independent