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Preferred sound levels of portable music players and listening habits among adults: a field study.

Journal article
Authors Kim R. Kähäri
Published in Noise & health
Volume 13
Issue 50
Pages 9-15
ISSN 1463-1741
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Audiology, Logopedics, Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy
Pages 9-15
Language en
Keywords portable music player, Mp3, hearing loss, hearing disorders music and tinnitus
Subject categories Nursing


The main purpose of this descriptive field study was to explore music listening habits and preferred listening levels with portable music players (PMPs). We were also interested in seeing whether any exposure differences could be observed between the sexes. Data were collected during 12 hours at Stockholm Central Station, where people passing by were invited to measure their preferred PMP listening level by using a KEMAR manikin. People were also asked to answer a questionnaire about their listening habits. In all, 60 persons (41 men and 19 women) took part in the questionnaire study and 61 preferred PMP levels to be measured. Forty-one of these sound level measurements were valid to be reported after consideration was taken to acceptable measuring conditions. The women (31 years) and the men (33 years) started to use PMPs on a regular basis in their early 20s. Ear canal headphones/ear buds were the preferred headphone types. Fifty-seven percent of the whole study population used their PMP on a daily basis. The measured LAeq60 sec levels corrected for free field ranged between 73 and 102 dB, with a mean value of 83 dB. Sound levels for different types of headphones are also presented. The results of this study indicate that there are two groups of listeners: people who listen less frequently and at lower, safer sound levels, and people with excessive listening habits that may indeed damage their hearing sensory organ in time.

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