Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smaldino, Joseph J.

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders


A recent lawsuit filed against Apple Computers, Inc. has aroused public concern about the potential role of personal music players (MPs) in the development of hearing loss. In order to determine if such devices are used at levels likely to damage hearing, typical MP use levels were recorded from a sample of Northern Illinois University students. The average sound pressure level (Leq) was measured for each music sample. These levels were compared with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommendations for maximum daily noise exposure. While previous research has indicatJ that MPs are capable of producing sound output levels that can damage hearing, from the data collected in the present study, it did not appear that the students were listening to their MPs at levels that were likely to cause noise-induced hearing loss. However, since the effects of noise exposure are cumulative it is possible that, when combined with exposure to other noise sources, the use of personal MPs could contribute to overall hearing loss. In addition, the majority of the students who volunteered their music players for use in this study were communicative disorders majors. Since it is likely that they were well informed about the risks of excessive noise exposure, it is possible that increased public awareness about such dangers will be of great benefit in preventing noise-induced hearing loss in the future.


Includes bibliographical references.


13 pages




Northern Illinois University

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