What? What did you say? One in three American adults has some form of hearing loss. While this is largely age-related, the problem is statistically exacerbated by overly-loud personal audio devices, such as the iPod. Indeed, the iPod and its signature white earbuds are often singled out as a cause of noise-related hearing loss. There are some easy ways to control your iPods volume, which will protect your eardrums.

First, you can can equalize the amplitude of all the songs in your iTunes library. Beyond protecting your ears from loud audio blasts, this will keep you from having to constantly adjust volume on your computer. Launch iTunes, then navigate to File > Preferences > Playback. Next, click “Sound Check” to automatically adjust song playback to the same level. This setting will automatically be applied to any iPods or iPhones that sync with your Mac.

You can go one step further, and set a maximum volume limit on your iPod. The following article details how to do this:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303414

Regarding headphones, experts recommend using noise-canceling or noise-isolation earphones. These are two different types of earphones, but both block external noise, which allows you to keep your music’s volume down. The music will still sound great. For earbud-style headphones, you need noise-isolation models. These completely “isolate” you from surrounding audio, which can be dangerous in some situations. Shure makes several great models; see a version here:

http://www.smalldog.com/product/70462

Noise-canceling earphones sit on top of your ears, and offer richer bass, but block out less ambient noise. See a version made by Sennheiser here:

http://www.smalldog.com/product/42484

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