The RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf) wants iPods and other digital audio players to carry health warnings against excessive use at high volumes.
The organisation wants music player manufacturers, such as Apple and Creative, to warn customers that using the devices for extended periods at high volumes could threaten hearing. They want labels to that effect on packaging – and possibly even on the devices themselves.
This follows a recent poll at a London station, which found that 80 per cent of music player users had their volume set at over 80 decibels.
RNID also claims that 58 per cent of 16-30 year olds "are completely unaware of any risk to their hearing from using MP3 players and other audio products that attach directly to the ears".
It's all part of the RNID's three-year-old Don't Lose The Music campaign, which attempts to warn music fans of the danger of over-exposure to loud noise.
RNID chief executive Dr John Low said: "We know that young people are at risk of losing their hearing prematurely by listening to loud music for too long on MP3 players. MP3 player manufacturers have a responsibility to make their customers aware of the risks and the need to listen at sensible levels, and we urge them to incorporate prominent warnings into the packaging of their products.
"New technology and ever-increasing storage capacity enables people to listen non-stop for hours – and at louder volumes than ever before. If you are regularly plugged in, it is only too easy to clock up noise doses that could damage your hearing forever."
The RNID warns MP3 player users that a ringing or buzzing in your ears after using them should be seen as a warning sign that if you continue to stress your ears, you could damage your hearing permanently.