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Earphone noise could be as bad for your hearing as din from jet engines

Music over 110 decibels can damage sheath protecting nerves that carry sound from ears to brain, researchers find

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An employees poses next to an installation by US artist John Baldessari entitled 'Beethoven's Trumpet (With Ear)' at the Saatchi Gallery in central London on May 26, 2011. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Like to listen to loud music on your headphones?

You might want to think twice: researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK have found that hearing damage from earphones can reach decibels close to the din of powerful jet engines, reported Science Daily. 

According to the University of Leicester, turning up the volume too high on one's headphones can actually damage the myelin that coats your nerve cells. This can cause temporary deafness. 

The "myelin sheath" helps protect the nerves that carry sound from your ears to your brain. Trust me, you need those nerves. You really don't want to blow them apart so you can blast the latest remix of "Call Me Maybe" while jogging. You're worth more than that. 

The good news is that the myelin sheath can regrow if given some much-needed time away from the continuing incursions of gangsta rap or Metallica, explaining some incidences of recovery from hearing loss, researchers found. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Pop music too loud and all sounds the same, scientists confirm

Where do headphones come in? Well, they can get a lot louder than you think (and please, don't sit next to me on the subway).

The study found that headphones can reach upwards of 110 decibels - the American Osteopathic Association states that newer headphones can reach 120 decibels when fully cranked up.  Anything higher than 110 decibels can cause hearing damage in humans. 

Dangerous Decibels.org provides some examples of just how loud 110 decibels can be. Firecrackers, motorcycle noises, and gunshot blasts (from small arms) can all be between 120 and 140 decibels.

These are noises most of us tend to avoid if possible - but many people find similarly harmfully loud noises enjoyable if they happen to be rap music or power metal. (If you don't believe me, you probably don't use public transportation). 

Read more: Top 10 Loudest Noises - Listverse

And it's having an effect on hearing here in the USA: a 2006 Washington Post article reported that hearing loss is increasing in the USA, as modern life becomes ever more noisy - and headphones and iPhones aren't helping.

The damage from overly loud headphones is especially rough on teenagers, to absolutely no one's surprise: the American Osteopathic Association reports one in five US teenager has hearing loss, an increase from the 1980s and 1990s. 

And why bother to listen to music so loudly? After all, it's too loud and all sounds the same - or so said Spanish scientists in July. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120829/earphone-noise-could-be-bad-your-hearing-din-jet-engines